Is My SAT Score Good Enough?

Looking at your SAT scores can be puzzling for many high school students, especially the first time taking the test. It can be tough to know whether your scores are good enough for your colleges and whether you need to take the test again. What qualifies as a good score on the SAT will be different for every student and very dependent on your future goals for college.

As you go along in your college search process, you want to pay attention to the numbers that you see in college ranking and admissions materials. You’re looking for the 25-75th percentile SAT scores for each college. These will give you a good idea of where most students fall. While there will always be exceptions, both extremely high scores and students who get in on other qualifications even with lower scores, this is a good guideline. You may also inquire about perks for higher scores, such as merit-based grants or being able to test-out of required classes during your freshman year of college.

For example, Harvard University’s 25-75th percentile scores are 2100 – 2380 and Stanford University’s 25-75th percentile scores are 2000-2310. University of California San Diego‘s 25-75th percentile scores are 1700 – 2030. Identifying these numbers before you have to decipher your scores will help you to understand where you need to be to attend your top choice schools. If you have goals in mind, it will be easier to decide if your SAT scores are good enough to be your final scores, or if you need to take the test a second or a third time and try to improve.

If your scores fall right in the average for your top choice schools, you may still wish to improve them in order to increase your chances of acceptance. If you’re well above the scores you need, you may feel comfortable with your current scores and choose to be done taking the SAT.

It’s also worth paying attention to the breakdown between subject areas. Colleges generally want to see people with balanced scores, not extremely high scores in one section and significantly lower scores in another. Some variation between the scores is normal, especially if you have a much stronger interest and talent in one area. If the scores are too lopsided, however, you may want to spend some time studying for your weaker subject and take the test again to improve your scores.

Team Sports and Learning Life Skills

Being part of a team in high school can be a good way to learn many skills that will be applicable down the road in college and in your career. Team sports provide a great way to stay active and be social at the same time, giving teams a built-in social circle that can be extremely helpful to high school freshmen and provide a great way to meet people throughout the four years.

Team sports offer leadership opportunities and give high school students the chance to take charge and be responsible for their own group. Serving as a captain or co-caption teaches planning, cooperation, and the skills necessary to be a fair and skilled leader.

Participating in sports also give high school students experience planning out their own schedules and making time for multiple commitments. Learning to balance extracurricular activities with academic work is a skill that will be critical to your success in college. College students must create schedules that allow for plenty of study time, along with extracurriculars, part-time jobs, and other responsibilities. Having a busy schedule in high school can be the start of a lifetime of involvement in things that you enjoy.

Even the closest and most compatible teams will have occasional conflicts. Teammates may disagree about something on or off the field and need to work through a difference of opinions for the good of the group. This is a valuable learning experience that is applicable in many areas of life. Friendships, study groups, and relationships are all built on the ability to disagree amicably and solve problems as a group to move past conflicts.

Teams experience wonderful wins and disappointing losses together. No matter which side is most common for your team, you’ll learn a lot in the process and develop skills to help you celebrate in the good times and handle losses with dignity. These skills will be valuable far beyond high school and help you to become a mature and adaptable person.

Sports not exactly your thing? There are plenty of teams out there for you. Consider joining an academic-based team like debate or the school paper. School musical organizations also provide a similar setting that teaches cooperation, leadership, and commitment to participants. There’s a team out there for everyone to match each individual’s interests and preferred time commitment.

Being part of a team in high school is a valuable experience that will stick with you throughout your life. There are many options to choose from and many ways to get involved and enjoy being part of something special.

The Value of the SAT

Everyone knows that the SAT is important, but in recent years, its value has only increased. Close to 1.6 million students graduating from high school in 2010 took the SAT, this is a higher percentage of graduates than ever before. Minority participation in the SAT is also up compared to past years. The SAT is increasingly becoming an assumed part of the high school to college transition and can be a valuable resource for college admissions.

Studies have revealed that performance on the SAT is an excellent predictor of college readiness. High school grade point average and SAT scores are of equal value in predicting students’ first year college grade point average. By looking at the combination of the two, colleges can get a fairly accurate reading of how prepared a student is for college coursework.

While having a strong knowledge base from high school classes is certainly part of good SAT scores and being prepared for the college, the SAT tests a lot more than that. By taking time to study for the SAT through SAT prep and online classes, students can demonstrate their ability to prepare for a big test and retain information. These are skills that will continue to serve students well in college and contribute to better grades and a higher likelihood that they will finish college.

SAT scores matter, now more than ever, and college admissions offices will be looking at them for a glimpse into how well a student will handle college-level work and how well students can budget their time, follow directions, and prepare material for a test.

In 2010, 80.8% of the students graduating who took the SAT also took the PSAT. The PSAT can provide an opportunity for students to see how the test day will work so that they feel comfortable for the SAT. PSAT scores are also a good way to get a better idea of which areas of the test will need the most work during SAT prep.

The College Board anticipates that upcoming studies will reveal the impact that SAT scores have on college performance after the first year and college retention for all four years. This is valuable information that can be gleamed from test performance early in student’s academic careers.

Getting Back on Track After the Holidays

Going back to school after having time off for the holidays can be a tough readjustment for many students. Going back to the school day schedule and back to responsibilities like homework and SAT preparation can be overwhelming after vacation. A few simple tricks can help you to better segue way back into your routine.

Readjust Your Time
Try not to get too far off your normal sleep schedule over winter break. This means trying to wake up no more than an hour later than you normally would for school. Keeping yourself close to your routine will prevent the shock to your system when you have to start waking up at your normal time again. If you do get off schedule, start the transition a couple days before you go back to school, waking up a little earlier each day to help you adjust to the hour.

Think Through Your Schedule
It’s smart to spend some time working out a schedule while you’re on break and have some extra free time. Map out your planner for the next few months, setting goals and filling in all of your information. If you use a calendar on your computer and one on the wall or in a planner, be sure they are all up to date. Take an afternoon to clean your room, clean out your backpack, and organize your school files. This will help you to go back to your school routine feeling prepared for another semester.

Cross Some Things Off Your List
Whether its finally finishing up the last of your college applications or getting through some extra SAT prep work, winter break can be a time to get ahead of schedule. Having some things checked off your to-do list will make the transition back to the school day a lot easier. Plus the extra time is a great way to devote extra hours to your study plan. Anything you can do over break to help relieve some stress later on is well worth the time and effort.

Plan Some Fun
Make plans to get together with friends the first weekend after you go back to school or plan a shopping trip or dinner for one night during the first week. Having some things to look forward to in that first week back to school will make the last few days of break a lot less painful. You can focus on schoolwork again while knowing you have fun things planned on the horizon.

Top 10 Ways to Flunk the SAT

There are many ways to improve your SAT scores, you can take practice tests, create a study plan, and budget your time accordingly leading up to test day. If that doesn’t sound like much fun, there are also some surefire ways to flunk the SAT.

1. Forget answering the questions, use your time to make elaborate designs in the answer bubbles. Make zig-zags and swirls for the first few sections. When that gets old, try writing something out in Morse code. A’s are dashes and B’s are dots. The College Board will be impressed by your creativity!

2. Show up at the wrong testing center. Argue with the people there. When you realize that it actually was your mistake, sit on the steps outside and wait until it’s time to go home.

4. Take out your cell phone during the test. When questioned, explain that you need to use your lifeline and phone a friend for question 8. Put your friend on speakerphone and start reading questions aloud.

5. Forget a pencil; bring only a box of crayons. Answer questions with illustrations. You want to show off your skills and uniqueness with your 24-pack of Crayolas.

6. Read through the test, then use the pages as a way to practice your Origami skills. Who needs college when you have mastered the ability to make paper boats?

7. Leave the testing location halfway through. This test takes too long anyway.

8. Save all of your studying until the last 72 hours before the test. Stock up on energy drinks and stay awake the entire time cramming for the SAT. Study your heart out! Everything will be fresh! When you sit down to take the test, write your name and then immediately pass out on the desk. Goodnight, SAT.

9. Forget to wear your contact lenses or bring your glasses to the test. Spend the first part of the test squinting at the paper and holding it at various distances from your face. Run out of time on each section while you’re still working on reading the instructions.

10. Look at an SAT practice test ten minutes before you have to leave to take your test. Better yet, glance at it in the parking lot outside the testing location. No one studies for these things, right?

Ok, so you bombed it on the SAT. Maybe you didn’t try to, maybe it just happened or you had a legit excuse. The one thing to keep in mind is that you can take this test as many times as you want to and only your highest score counts. So stop beating yourself up and make up for it by preparing for at least three months prior to the test.

Changing your frame of mind

Moving from summer back into school mode can be a challenge for even the best student. Adapting your schedule and making time for all of your responsibilities will be particularly important in the back-to-school transition. Building a good structure early in the school year can help set the tone for a successful year.

For students whose summer schedules have had different hours, it can be difficult to readjust to a school schedule. It will help to start make the adjustment the week before school starts instead of waiting until the first day of school. Set your alarm for the time you will need to wake up for school and start getting to sleep earlier. This will help your body adjust to your new hours.

It is also a good idea to have your backpack or bag ready to go the night before so that everything you need for the school day is in one place. This will prevent things from being forgotten in the morning. Be sure that you have a few easy options for breakfast on hand so that mornings will run smoothly and you’ll be able to get off to school having eaten a good breakfast. For some students, protein shakes or nutrition bars can offer a good option for days when you’re in a hurry or have to eat on the go.

For some high school students, back to school means time to begin serious preparations for the SAT. Establishing an SAT test prep schedule early on can help you to plan other activities around it and maintain your ideal study schedule. An online test prep course can be a good choice for students who want a more flexible schedule that can fit around schoolwork and extracurricular activities.

Be sure to choose an organizational method that works for you. Having an agenda, day planner, or personal organizer that works for you will help you to keep track of your time. Keep your calendar up to date, especially while you are still adjusting to your new class schedule. This will also help you plan after-school activities and keep track of homework assignments. Getting in the habit of writing things down will help you continue to keep on top of assignments and schedules throughout the year.

Setting aside time for homework and study time is especially important early in the school year. Oftentimes the schedule that you set from the beginning will help you to maintain good study habits throughout the school year. For many students, getting homework done immediately after school or during a specific time in the evening can help. This will allow you to complete your work and also make time for hobbies, friends, and other priorities.

Moving from summer back into school mode can be a challenge for even the best student. Adapting your schedule and making time for all of your responsibilities will be particularly important in the back-to-school transition. Building a good structure early in the school year can help set the tone for a successful year.

For students whose summer schedules have had different hours, it can be difficult to readjust to a school schedule. It will help to start make the adjustment the week before school starts instead of waiting until the first day of school. Set your alarm for the time you will need to wake up for school and start getting to sleep earlier. This will help your body adjust to your new hours.

It is also a good idea to have your backpack or bag ready to go the night before so that everything you need for the school day is in one place. This will prevent things from being forgotten in the morning. Be sure that you have a few easy options for breakfast on hand so that mornings will run smoothly and you’ll be able to get off to school having eaten a good breakfast. For some students, protein shakes or nutrition bars can offer a good option for days when you’re in a hurry or have to eat on the go.

For some high school students, back to school means time to begin serious preparations for the SAT. Establishing an SAT test prep schedule early on can help you to plan other activities around it and maintain your ideal study schedule. An online test prep course can be a good choice for students who want a more flexible schedule that can fit around schoolwork and extracurricular activities.

Be sure to choose an organizational method that works for you. Having an agenda, day planner, or personal organizer that works for you will help you to keep track of your time. Keep your calendar up to date, especially while you are still adjusting to your new class schedule. This will also help you plan after-school activities and keep track of homework assignments. Getting in the habit of writing things down will help you continue to keep on top of assignments and schedules throughout the year.

Setting aside time for homework and study time is especially important early in the school year. Oftentimes the schedule that you set from the beginning will help you to maintain good study habits throughout the school year. For many students, getting homework done immediately after school or during a specific time in the evening can help. This will allow you to complete your work and also make time for hobbies, friends, and other priorities.


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