This week, I was asked if there was such a thing as perfect scoring SAT students.
Yes. Some students each year achieve a perfect score on the SAT. But it is a small number (estimated at about 500-600 out of 1.7 million test takers per year).
There isn’t a magic formula that will enable a perfect score. There is no secret number of hours to study or secret books to use.
However, my students who have achieved a perfect score have had some commonalities that I think helped them get to 1600 (2400 on the old test).They were avid readers who read for pleasure and enjoyed learning. I think this is the MOST important aspect. If you are someone who disdains reading, your reading skills won’t be as strong as those of someone who has spent 7–9 years reading daily for fun. Avid readers have wider vocabulary and general knowledge that enables them to understand the SAT passages easily and parse the test questions without confusion. They also read EVERYTHING on the test. They never skipped or skimmed the passages or the questions because a single word in the description of an infographic could be the difference between a right answer and a wrong one.
Took Time to learn the SAT
They spent at least 6 months learning everything about the test. They understood how the passages and test questions were written. the traps and tricks the test writers used.
Used College Board Tests and Tutor made materials
They used real tests and materials produced by private tutors (Erica Meltzer, College Panda, SuperTutorTV, PWN the SAT) instead of materials produced by big name companies.
Replicated testing conditions
They took practice tests under real testing circumstances. That is they would sit down and do a complete test with the correct timing. No extra long breaks, no stopping to look something up. They were building mental stamina so that the real test was as similar as possible to their practices.
Examined every answer choice
They knew why the wrong answers were wrong for every question. In order to be 100% certain you are correct, you also need to be certain about why the wrong answers are wrong. They checked every answer and were clear about the reason why a wrong answer was wrong in addition to understanding why the right answer was right.
Understanding their tendencies
They were systematic in understanding why they made mistakes. They analyzed their mistakes and identified the patterns of their mistakes. Then they stopped those actions. For some it may be that they would get overly confident and not check the other answers. For others they would assume they knew the question without reading it. Some would panic about the time and guess the “good enough answer”. They never use the excuse of “I knew it was the other answer.”
They took more notes on the passages. Perfect students tend to write more on their test booklets. They don’t rely on their memory to track the main idea of passage 1 and passage 2—They WRITE IT DOWN.
They have a positive mental attitude. They wanted a perfect score, but understood that a perfect score isn’t a magic key to happiness and success. And a 1560 is not a failure. They saw the the SAT as more of a game they wanted to win with the highest score possible. Mistakes became opportunities to fine tune their thinking and understand their own tendencies. They also challenged themselves by doing things that were too hard so they wouldn’t become overly confident.
Perfect scoring SAT students are rare. But they do exist. They tend to have high aspirations and are willing to put in extra effort to achieve their goals. However, they also don’t get overly upset about a single mistake because they know that the difference between a 1580 and 1600 won’t matter when it comes to college applications.
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