Ever since the SAT went through its redesign in 2016 and relaunched, we’ve been asked by students and parents alike “how can I get a perfect score on the new SAT?”
Here are our suggestions on what it takes to get a perfect score on the new SAT, outside of good old-fashioned hard work.
Don’t forget to check out our various SAT prep course options we have available year-round.
Use Quality Materials
The first thing you HAVE to do is get your hands on accurate, quality study materials.
You need to replicate the material you’ll see on test day as accurately as possible, to avoid any major surprises while the clock is ticking. The first things you’ll need are practice tests and practice questions. There are plenty of resources out there providing accurate practice tests that you can download.
At Prep Expert, we use material from past SAT tests for our own practice tests and homework assignments, meaning that they were previously administered to students just like yourself. Making sure you get your hands on accurate practice tests and related materials is paramount because you can use them to work on your test-taking timing and gauge how well you’re picking up the material. Pick each one apart like a puzzle inside and out.
At some point, you need to ask yourself “why do I want a perfect score?”
Is it because there’s a specific school or schools you want to attend? Are you aiming for scholarship money to cover your entire college costs? Or do you want to prove something to yourself, like knowing that you can achieve it in the first place? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get a perfect score for its own sake alone.
But the test prep process will be a lot easier if you have a concrete goal that you are striving towards. It will help keep your mind on the task and stay persistent when you frankly don’t want to score one more practice test or see how you screwed up that last Math question. Know the why before working on the how.
Just like handling homework or keeping up with extracurriculars, you need to carve out a set schedule for test prep study only.
Understand that putting in a ton of hours without structure is counterproductive; working hard on practice tests for three hours one week, and then coming back to it for only twenty minutes the next week doesn’t do your brain any good. It’s better to have a set routine that you stick with relentlessly.
Even if you only set aside an hour per week on Thursday, for instance, make sure that during that one hour you’re focused on finding your problem areas, tearing apart wrong question answers, and putting all other distractions out of mind. Not only will you gain confidence over what trips you up, but you’ll develop the laser-sharp focus you’ll need on test day itself when timed.
Study The Test Format
Getting a perfect score means that you know the SAT itself and how it works.
Getting a perfect score on the SAT isn’t just about knowing Math, English, and critical thinking skills. Understand that the SAT is not an IQ test that you have no opportunity to prepare for beforehand. It is a test that you can learn – meaning not just the subjects you’re tested on, but the actual structure itself.
If you want to get a perfect score on the SAT, or any admissions exam, then you need to know how it works just as much as what they’re going to ask. You need to understand how each section is structured, the kinds of questions you’ll be asked, how the answer choices are presented, how much time you have for each question depending on the section, etc.
Don’t go into that exam room without knowing exactly what will be in front of you. If you don’t respect and prepare for the format, then you will lose time, won’t finish questions accurately, and not get that perfect score. It’s as simple as that.
Keep Up With School Work
While focusing and studying for that perfect score is taxing, don’t use that as an excuse to slack on your regular school work.
Why? Because the SAT is going to test you on exactly what you’re learning in those classes! If you have questions on subjects that give you trouble in your morning Algebra II or Trigonometry class, make sure to get the answers you need because there’s a good chance you’ll face similar problems on the test itself.
More importantly, keeping your regular class grades high will keep your GPA high too. Don’t forget that college admissions officials look at the entire package when considering prospective students – your SAT score, extracurricular activities, recommendation letters, and…GPA. Think of your regular homework as extra practice for the test too.
Don’t Forget Breakfast!
The last tool you can use at your disposal to achieve that perfect score is…a good breakfast.
Yes, a good, healthy breakfast will help you on test day when you need it the most. Why? Because starting off the morning with a nutritious meal will provide it with the nutrients and energy needed to avoid brain fog.
As the clock ticks down and you’re under constant pressure to finish each section correctly, your brain will start to get tired and focus will not be as strong. How much or little that focus breaks down is dependent on your preparation and your remaining physical energy.
Start your morning off with a meal with healthy proteins and avoid processed sugars at all costs. Don’t let a sugar rush fuel that first hour and then crash hard when you need every last bit of brain power to finish on time.
The SAT isn’t a walk in the park, but don’t let overthinking cripple your mind on test day.
Plenty of students who have scored perfectly speak to not overthinking yourself when taking it. The test isn’t designed to trick you with things that you can’t prepare for beforehand. Keep that in mind or else you will second-guess every answer choice you choose.
Prepare thoroughly beforehand, have a game plan for tackling each section, and stick to your plan. The test isn’t designed to be a pushover, so don’t agonize over every single thing. You won’t finish on time and will likely change right answers into wrong ones otherwise.
How Prep Expert Can Help You
Don’t forget, our purpose is to teach you the strategies that our founder Shaan Patel developed to achieve his own perfect score.
Taught by 99th percentile-scoring instructors, Prep Expert’s tips are put into practice through weekly homework assignments and practice tests. Together, this work and instruction will help you find and address your problem areas before having to take the SAT for real. Ultimately, our aim is to help you achieve your goals by providing the tools to overcome this first hurdle in the process – your test score.
Be sure to check out our various class options, from in-person, live online, to self-paced video on demand, to find one that fits your goals and schedule. Our classes are available year-round, so don’t be afraid to sign up for the next class now.
For more information and tips, check out Prep Expert