What’s the best-paying job you can have as a high school student? Answer: Spending quality time increasing your SAT score. Apply these steps, and watch your SAT score increase.

NOTE: International students are already taking the Digital SAT while U.S. students will begin taking the new test in Spring 2024. So, if you graduate in 2025, you’ll take the new Digital SAT, which will differ from the sections described below.

1. Prepare early and effectively

First, set up your SAT Online Account. Then find SAT prep that’s fun, engaging, and effective. Not all test prep is created equal, so do the research. Read reviews, and look past flashy(bogus) guarantees. Try the OnToCollege Free SAT Prep Trial.

2. Practice often

Consistent test-taking practice has shown to be one of the best ways to increase your SAT scores. Make sure to use actual SAT practice tests to understand the test format and to learn how to manage your time and energy.

  • Often your school counselor or local library will have copies to share, or you can purchase the Official SAT Study Guide for less than $30.
  • Join our free OnToCollege Live! Online Help sessions on the Friday evening before every national SAT date.
  • But don’t wait to prep the night before! OnToCollege online classes are available on your schedule for a full year or as a Boot Camp in the weeks prior to the test.

3. Use the practice tests

The SAT has four sections. The total time for the SAT is 180 minutes, not including breaks. The SAT Essay is 50 minutes but is only available on School Day tests in some states.

Increase Your SAT Score

Carving out three hours at one time for practice may be challenging. Instead, with a practice test in hand, use this method:

First, do one section at a time for the prescribed time: (Reading: 5 passages in 65 minutes; Writing and Language: 4 passages in 35 minutes; Math–no calculator: 20 questions in 25 minutes; Math—with a calculator: 38 questions in 55 minutes)

Then, after each section, immediately correct your answers for that one section. Seek to understand all of your guesses and mistakes. The key here is to learn from your mistakes before attacking the next section, and then the next.

4. Take the SAT three to four times

Thoughtfully select your SAT Test dates that work best with your family, school, and extra-curricular commitments (2023 SAT Test Dates). Some states mandate the SAT be taken by all public high school juniors.

After taking the PSAT in October of junior year, students should take the SAT three to four times. Few students get their best score the first (or even second) time. So, take the test twice during your junior year and twice in the fall of your senior year. Get your best score, and increase your chances of potential scholarships and financial aid!

Colleges don’t care how many times students take the SAT. However, December of your senior year is usually the last test date colleges will accept scores for scholarship consideration. Check with your preferred colleges.

Students who are solid test-takers, especially those who have previously taken the SAT and scored 1350 or above before their junior year, should sign up for the October Junior Year PSAT, which can earn you eligibility for National Merit Scholarships. Register for the PSAT with your high school counselor.

Most colleges superscore the SAT, taking the highest section scores, even if they occur on different test dates. Check out this site: SAT Superscore.

5. Reduce your test anxiety

Practice, practice, practice so you are prepared and confident when test day arrives. Treat each practice test session as a real test day. Remove all distractions. Use a reliable timer. Stay focused. No food, no breaks, no phone.

  • Learn which relaxation techniques–such as deep breathing–work for you.
  • Finally, treat your SAT Test Prep as you would a part-time job. Put the time and energy into improving your SAT Test Score—the best-paying job you’ll ever have!
  • OnToCollege’s online SAT Prep course is fun, engaging, and effective, providing all the strategies, practice tests, and solution videos you need to MAX your score. Let’s do this—and have some fun as we jump your score.

Have more questions about the SAT? Check out The Definitive Guide to the SAT 2023