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Boost Your SAT Score by 200 Points! Decoding the SAT: Ace Every Section with Sarah's Proven Techniques (2023-2024)

May 7, 2024

Preparing for the SAT can be a daunting task, but fear not! You will be provided with a comprehensive guide to help you conquer each section of the SAT. You will dive into the best strategies and tips for acing the Evidence-based Reading and Writing, Mathematics, and Essay sections.

SAT preparation tips for evidence-based reading and writing

1. Read actively

To engage with the text, you can follow several strategies that will help you fully comprehend and remember important information. For instance, you can highlight key points, which will allow you to identify the main ideas and concepts. Additionally, underlining important details or examples can help you better understand and recall supporting evidence. Finally, jotting down notes in the margin is also a useful technique to record your thoughts, questions, and reactions to the text. By using these strategies, you will not only stay focused while reading, but also improve your reading skills and critical thinking abilities.

🚀 Example
Highlight the main idea of each paragraph in a reading passage to quickly refer back during questions.

2. Understand vocabulary in context

When you encounter words that are unfamiliar to you, it can be helpful to try and make sense of their meaning by taking into account the surrounding context of the sentence or paragraph. This can involve looking for clues such as nearby synonyms, antonyms, or other related words that might help to shed some light on the meaning of the unknown term. Additionally, it can be useful to consider the overall tone or purpose of the text in question, as well as any relevant background information or knowledge that you might have, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of the word in question. Ultimately, by taking a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to the process of deciphering unfamiliar words, you can not only expand your vocabulary, but also enhance your overall reading comprehension skills and ability to engage with complex texts in a meaningful way.

🚀 Example
In the sentence, "Her jubilant demeanor conveyed her excitement," the word "jubilant" can be understood as expressing happiness.

3. Answer questions strategically

One useful approach to tackling a test is to answer the easier questions first. By doing so, you can build up your confidence and get into a good rhythm before moving on to the more challenging questions. It's important to remember that each question carries the same weight, so don't spend too much time on any one question. Instead, make a note of any particularly difficult questions and return to them later, once you've answered all the easier questions. This way, you can maximize your chances of getting a good score overall.

🚀 Example
Start with line reference questions in the Writing and Language section, as they often have clear-cut answers.

Tips for writing and language on the SAT

1. Grammar rules

Brushing up on common grammar rules such as subject-verb agreement, verb tenses, and pronoun usage can significantly improve your writing skills. By having a clear understanding of these rules, you will be able to identify errors more easily and communicate your ideas more effectively. Additionally, it is important to note that mastering grammar is a continuous process that requires consistent practice and dedication. You can start by reviewing grammar books, taking online courses, or seeking feedback from a teacher or mentor.

🚀 Example
Ensure that pronouns have clear antecedents, avoiding vague or ambiguous references.

2. Be consistent

In order to ensure that the passage maintains a consistent verb tense and writing style, it is important to carefully review the text for any shifts in voice or tone that may occur. By doing this, you can help to make the passage longer while still preserving the key ideas that are present. It is also important to consider adding additional information or examples that can help to further illustrate the points being made. By taking these steps, you can help to create a more comprehensive and detailed piece of writing that will be able to more effectively convey the intended message to the reader.

🚀 Example
If the passage is written in the past tense, ensure that all verbs remain in the past tense.

3. Punctuation matters

To improve the clarity of your sentences, it is important to pay close attention to punctuation marks such as commas, semicolons, and dashes. These marks can greatly enhance the readability of your writing by helping to organize your thoughts and ideas into clear and concise statements. For example, a well-placed comma can indicate a pause or change in direction in your sentence, while a semicolon can connect related ideas or clauses. Similarly, a dash can be used to add emphasis or to set off a parenthetical remark. By understanding the proper usage of these marks, you can take your writing to the next level and make it more engaging and effective. So, take the time to study them and practice incorporating them into your writing, and you will soon see a marked improvement in your clarity and style.

🚀 Example
Use commas to separate items in a list or to set off non-essential information.

SAT reading tips

1. Skim first

Begin by quickly skimming through the passage to get an overview of its content and structure. This will help you approach the questions more efficiently. Additionally, it is important to pay attention to any bolded or italicized words or phrases, as they may indicate key concepts or ideas. Take note of any headings or subheadings, as they can provide guidance on the main topics covered in the passage. It is also helpful to identify any supporting details or examples, as they can provide further context and understanding of the main ideas. By taking these steps, you can ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of the passage and are better equipped to answer questions accurately.

🚀 Example
Read the first and last paragraphs in detail, and then skim the body of the passage.
Magnifying glass zooming in on strings resembling neurons, illustrating the importance of identifying main ideas in a passage
It is important to identify the main ideas of a passage

2. Identify main ideas

To effectively comprehend a passage, it's important to determine the main idea of each paragraph to grasp the central theme of the text. Doing so will not only help you understand the passage as a whole, but it will also aid in answering questions about the passage's purpose. To further enhance your understanding of the text, it's also helpful to identify the supporting details within each paragraph that contribute to the main idea. Once you have a firm understanding of the main idea and supporting details, you can then accurately analyze and interpret the text. By taking the time to thoroughly analyze a passage, you can gain a deeper understanding of the author's intentions and the message they're trying to convey to the reader.

🚀 Example
In a science passage discussing climate change, the main idea of a paragraph could be "Impact of deforestation on global warming."

3. Context clues

One useful strategy for improving your vocabulary is to use context clues to infer the meaning of words you don't know. When you encounter unfamiliar terms, try to identify surrounding sentences or phrases that can provide hints about their meaning. This can include looking for synonyms or antonyms of the word, examining the structure of the sentence to determine the word's function, or considering the topic of the passage to determine the word's likely definition. By using context clues in this way, you can not only expand your vocabulary, but also improve your reading comprehension and critical thinking skills.

🚀 Example
If the word "mitigate" appears in a sentence about reducing pollution, you can deduce that it means "lessen" or "alleviate."

SAT writing tips

1. Organize your essay

To achieve a high score on your essay, you should structure it in a clear and organized manner. You can do this by including a well-written introduction that sets up the topic and provides context for you. Use the body paragraphs to present supporting evidence and examples that back up your argument. It is crucial to use specific details and examples to make your argument more convincing. Finally, a strong conclusion that ties everything together and leaves a lasting impression on you is essential. By following these guidelines and taking the time to thoughtfully organize your essay, you can greatly increase your chances of earning a high score.

🚀 Example
Use a classic five-paragraph essay format with an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

2. Use strong evidence

To effectively support your points, it is important to provide relevant examples and evidence from the given passage. This not only demonstrates your comprehension of the text, but also showcases your critical thinking skills. By citing specific examples and evidence, you can further elaborate on your ideas and provide more detailed analysis. Furthermore, this approach can help to strengthen your argument and make it more convincing to the reader. Therefore, it is highly recommended to use relevant examples and evidence to support your points whenever possible.

🚀 Example
If the prompt asks about the author's argument, refer to specific lines or sentences from the passage to support your analysis.

3. Showcase diverse vocabulary

To improve the quality of your writing, it's important to utilize a diverse range of vocabulary words while ensuring that they're being used in their correct context. Overuse of the same words and phrases can quickly become monotonous and tedious, ultimately leading to a lack of engagement from your reader. By incorporating a wider range of vocabulary, you can enrich the content of your writing, making it more engaging and interesting to read. Additionally, it's important to ensure that your use of vocabulary doesn't detract from the key ideas of your writing, as clarity and coherence should always be prioritized over the use of complex language for its own sake.

🚀 Example
Instead of repeatedly using "good," use synonyms like "excellent," "superb," or "outstanding" when appropriate.

SAT mathematics tips

1. Memorize formulas

To excel on the exam, you need to truly understand and internalize the fundamental mathematical formulas and concepts. This not only involves memorizing them, but also developing a deep understanding of how they work and their practical applications. Additionally, you need to practice applying these formulas and concepts to a variety of problems in order to become comfortable with them and build problem-solving skills. Therefore, you must dedicate ample time to studying and practicing these concepts to ensure success on the exam.

🚀 Example
Memorize formulas for the area and circumference of a circle (A = πr^2, C = 2πr), Pythagorean theorem (a^2 + b^2 = c^2), and quadratic equation (ax^2 + bx + c = 0).

2. Solve systematically

When you encounter a complex problem, it's important to break it down into smaller, more manageable steps. By doing so, you can avoid making errors and ensure that you're moving in the right direction towards the solution.

As you work through each step, make sure to take the time to show your work neatly and in a clear manner. This will not only help you to keep track of your progress but also make it much easier for others to review your process and provide feedback.

Remember, taking the time to solve problems step-by-step may take a little longer, but it can ultimately save you time and effort in the long run by helping you to avoid costly mistakes and ensuring that you arrive at the best possible solution.

🚀 Example
For algebraic equations, perform one operation at a time, like simplifying expressions or solving for a variable (e.g., solve for x in the equation 3x + 7 = 16).

3. Use answer choices strategically

If you find yourself struggling to come up with an answer to a particularly challenging question, one strategy you can try is to plug in each of the answer choices to see which one fits. By doing this, you can start to eliminate the choices that don't work, which can make it easier to identify the correct answer. It's important to keep in mind that this method may not always work, especially if the question is more complex or requires a deeper understanding of the material. However, it can be a useful tool to have in your test-taking arsenal, and it's worth giving a try if you're feeling stuck or overwhelmed. Additionally, it's important to make sure that you're not just blindly guessing when using this method; take the time to carefully consider each answer choice and think critically about why it might be the correct answer. By approaching the question in this way, you can increase your chances of arriving at the right answer and performing well on the test overall.

🚀 Example
If the question asks for the value of "x," substitute each answer choice for "x" to find the correct solution (e.g., if the answer choices are 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10, try each one in the equation and see which one satisfies the given conditions).

SAT essay tips

1. Plan your essay

To prepare for writing your essay, it is important to take some time to outline your thoughts. This not only helps you organize your ideas but also allows you to plan a coherent and effective response. One way to do this is to create a rough draft of your main points and supporting evidence before you begin writing. Another useful technique is to brainstorm ideas and jot them down in a mind map or bullet point list. By taking the time to outline your thoughts, you can ensure that you have a clear and well-structured essay that effectively conveys your message to your audience.

🚀 Example
Create a quick outline with a thesis statement, three main points, and supporting evidence.

2. Include real-world example

To effectively demonstrate critical thinking and strengthen your argument, it is important to provide real-world examples and historical events that support your claims. For example, when discussing the importance of renewable energy, you could reference the Paris Climate Accord and the efforts of countries to reduce their carbon emissions. Additionally, you could cite the success of countries like Iceland and Costa Rica in transitioning to renewable energy sources. By incorporating such examples, you provide concrete evidence to support your argument and demonstrate a deeper understanding of the topic at hand.

🚀 Example
If the prompt is about censorship, use examples from literature, history, or current events to support your stance.

3. Use effective language

When writing, it is important to be both clear and concise in order to effectively communicate your message. However, it is equally important to be persuasive in your writing, which can sometimes be difficult to achieve if you are overly focused on simplicity. While it is important to avoid using overly complex language that might obscure your message, it is also important to strike a balance between clarity and persuasiveness. One way to achieve this is to use concrete examples and vivid imagery to illustrate your points, rather than relying solely on abstract concepts. Additionally, varying the length and structure of your sentences can help to keep readers engaged and prevent your writing from becoming monotonous. Ultimately, the key is to keep your audience in mind and tailor your writing style to suit their needs and expectations.

🚀 Example
Rather than using obscure vocabulary, focus on crafting well-structured sentences that get your point across.


1. How do I create a study plan for the SAT?

Creating an effective study plan for the SAT is essential to maximize your preparation and score potential. Follow these steps to develop a comprehensive study plan:

  1. Assessment: Start by taking a full-length SAT practice test to gauge your current strengths and weaknesses. This will help you identify which sections need more attention.
  2. Set a target score: Decide on the target score you want to achieve. Research the average scores required for your preferred colleges or universities to set a realistic goal.
  3. Allocate time: Depending on the time available before your test date, allocate specific time slots for each subject. Focus more on your weaker areas while still dedicating time to maintain your strengths.
  4. Daily practice: Incorporate regular study sessions into your daily routine. Consistency is key to mastering the content and pacing required for the SAT.
  5. Use quality resources: Utilize official SAT practice materials, review books, and online resources to supplement your learning. High-quality materials ensure you're familiar with the test format.
  6. Practice tests: Take several full-length practice tests under timed conditions to simulate the real test environment. Analyze your performance to track your progress and adjust your study plan accordingly.
  7. Review and learn: After each practice test, thoroughly review the questions you got wrong. Understand the concepts behind the correct answers and learn from your mistakes.
  8. Seek help when needed: Don't hesitate to seek help from teachers, tutors, or study groups if you encounter difficulties with certain topics.
  9. Stay healthy: Take care of your physical and mental health. Ensure you get enough rest, eat well, and manage stress effectively.

2. Is 3 months enough to study for the SAT?

While the ideal study period varies depending on individual strengths and goals, three months can be sufficient for many students to prepare for the SAT, especially if you can dedicate several hours of focused studying each week. However, success in this condensed timeframe requires a strategic approach:

  1. Assessment: Start by taking a practice test to evaluate your baseline performance and identify areas of improvement.
  2. Intensive study: In a 3-month study plan, aim to devote at least 10-15 hours per week for SAT preparation. Balance your time across all sections, focusing more on weaker subjects.
  3. Study material: Utilize official SAT practice materials and reputable study resources to optimize your preparation.
  4. Practice tests: Take full-length practice tests regularly to track your progress and get accustomed to the test's format and timing.
  5. Consistency: Stay disciplined and consistent throughout the study period. Avoid procrastination and stick to your study schedule.
  6. Review and analysis: After each practice test, thoroughly review your mistakes and understand the underlying concepts.
  7. Mock exam: As the test date approaches, take a full-length mock exam to simulate real test conditions and build confidence.

With dedication and efficient use of your study time, a 3-month preparation period can lead to significant score improvements.

3. How do you set goals for SAT scores?

Setting achievable goals for your SAT scores is crucial for maintaining motivation and focusing your efforts. Follow these steps to establish your target score:

  1. Research college requirements: Investigate the average SAT scores required by the colleges or universities you are interested in. Consider the middle 50% range of admitted students' scores to set a realistic goal.
  2. Assess your abilities: Analyze your strengths and weaknesses in each SAT section by taking a practice test or using a diagnostic tool.
  3. Be realistic: Set a target score that aligns with your abilities and the requirements of your preferred colleges. Aim high, but make sure your goal is attainable with dedicated effort.
  4. Break down goals: Divide your target score into smaller, manageable milestones for each section. This approach allows you to focus on incremental improvements.
  5. Track progress: Regularly assess your performance through practice tests and review sessions. Keep track of your progress towards your target score.
  6. Adjust when needed: If you find your goal is too ambitious or too easy to achieve, be flexible and adjust it accordingly. Continuously reassess your goals as you progress.
  7. Stay motivated: Remind yourself of the benefits of achieving your target score, such as increased college opportunities and scholarship eligibility.

By setting specific and realistic goals, you can tailor your study plan and make steady progress toward achieving your desired SAT score.


In conclusion, success on the SAT requires a combination of effective strategies and diligent preparation. Practice with quality sample questions to reinforce your skills and identify weak areas. Aha is a learning website that provides precisely that. Sign up now and let AI analyze your performance, guiding you towards SAT success. Remember, with dedication and the right approach, you can excel in the SAT and open doors to a bright future!

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