Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

Roadrunner

SAT Score Improvement

Recommended Posts

My friend’s kid is a freshman in high school and the first run on SAT shows the scores in the 500 range for math and English. Is it possible to improve those scores enough to hit mid 700s? What would be a maximum improvement a kid can expect from beginning of high school to summer before senior year? And any strategies would be appreciated. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess there are two questions here. What increase can one expect by just maturity factor (being several years older by senior year), and what increase could be expected by studying and how much studying would be appropriate to hit the goals. 

This is a bright child with no LDs or anything that could prevent achieving high scores. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As to the math section, it really depends on how much math he has already completed. If he took the SAT with only alg 1 and perhaps geometry under his belt, it seems he did rather well coming in at the mid-point of all  h.s. seniors.  . Test taking practice and alg 2 alone should add a nice bump. The scores shown pn this  board are  unusual because many kids here are year(s) above great level

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

I guess there are two questions here. What increase can one expect by just maturity factor (being several years older by senior year), and what increase could be expected by studying and how much studying would be appropriate to hit the goals. 

This is a bright child with no LDs or anything that could prevent achieving high scores. 

I don't think maturity alone could provide that much of a jump. Learning the material over 2+ years, yes. Just plain getting older, no.

Has anyone looked at the types of problems missed to see if there is a pattern? If the official test was taken, have results been linked to Khan?

If time is a factor on the test, more practice will help. If content knowledge is a problem, more targeted prep will help. I don't see getting to the 700s to be an issue in 2+ years, but I do think targeted prep might be needed, depending on whether the kid already has studied the material (as in the case of math) or just performs poorly on (timed) tests.

[I'm assuming said boy is considered gifted, and that is why this question is coming up. Normal, average kids scoring in the 500s freshman year would normally not be a cause for concern, IMO.)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where does the kid score on other standardized tests?  If it's been consistently at the 99th percentile, then maturity, learning, and prep work will probably get them into the mid 700s by the end of junior year.  The further away from the 99th percentile they have been in the past, the more difficult it will be to get there on the SAT. 

This is because it is much easier to cross percentiles with prep work than to do it by learning content.  The 99th percentile kid has presumably gotten or will get all the content, and it's just a matter of perfecting the test taking process.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My son lifted his english score 80 points with one month of practice exams.  

Seems like you have a mix of maturity, content, and test taking when considering raising your score. I think 50 points for each is totally reasonable in 3 years, which puts him at a 650. Higher scores than that are hard won. My son scored high on the critical reading because he read for 3 hours a night -- things like the Economist, Scientific American, and War and Peace year round for four years. By chance he hit all three types of writing that the SAT includes: social sciences, science, and literature.  The SAT is really a test of mental quickness. Many of us could do well if we were given all the time we needed.  I think to do well on the critical reading, you need to read complex material a lot, so that you can read and comprehend it quickly.  As for the test taking aspect, the 80 points he gained was from realizing that there was only one OBJECTIVELY right answer, so he had to hunt in the text for how to exclude all the others.  Once he started thinking like a lawyer, he did great. (I can't comment on maths portion as ds is a special case.) 

Good luck!

Ruth  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everybody.

This student is not a STEM kid but a liberal arts kid who does a ton of reading and writing. I am not sure if he had much formal grammar. Would it be helpful to recommend a formal grammar or is SAT grammar section a total different animal altogether? 

Also, since this student is already in high school, if he takes a formal SAT, do the scores will have to be eventually reported? Are there schools that ask for all scores? 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I'm curious why a kid who does a ton of reading got a 500 on the verbal section. Is this reading at the level that is found in SAT passages?  Has s/he evaluated where the weaknesses are? My son did not do much formal grammar at all, but all his reading of high-level content made grammar a natural extension of how he thinks. 

 

Edited by lewelma
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The student is only a freshman.  Unless he has gone through Algebra 2, it won't be a great reflection of where he will be.  Even for the reading/writing part, it isn't reflective.  Kahn academy was by far the best for my ds as it targets where the child needs to work.  My dd will need something to help with math speed, too, but I want to wait until she has finished Alg 2.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, freesia said:

The student is only a freshman.  Unless he has gone through Algebra 2, it won't be a great reflection of where he will be.  Even for the reading/writing part, it isn't reflective.  Kahn academy was by far the best for my ds as it targets where the child needs to work.  My dd will need something to help with math speed, too, but I want to wait until she has finished Alg 2.

 

I believe he is taking Algebra 2 now, so yes, improvement is expected in the math section.

2 hours ago, lewelma said:

So I'm curious why a kid who does a ton of reading got a 500 on the verbal section. Is this reading at the level that is found in SAT passages?  Has s/he evaluated where the weaknesses are? My son did not do much formal grammar at all, but all his reading of high-level content made grammar a natural extension of how he thinks. 

 

I agree. The score should be higher and hence my thread. This is a very capable kid with superb writing skills. 

I think looking for patterns in mistakes is a good suggestion (assuming there are patters). 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look at the subscores. Gives more info than the  500 score. For example my kids subscores tell me that I don’t need to worry about their grammar skills (as in only test prep required to boost scores but no need for formal grammar curriculum/program).

Also look at how many questions were completed. The scores won’t be a useful gauge if he could not finish or had to rush through all the questions (possibly increasing the chance of careless mistakes)

“Subscores
Subscores in the range of 1–15 offer feedback on student performance in the following skill areas:
§ Command of Evidence
§ Words in Context
§ Expression of Ideas
§ Standard English Conventions

§ Heart of Algebra
§ Problem Solving and Data Analysis

§ Passport to Advanced Math” https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/pdf/understanding-sat-scores.pdf

“Command of Evidence

The Writing and Language Test will assess how well students revise a passage to improve the way it develops information and ideas.

Words in Context

The Writing and Language Test measures students’ understanding of the effective use of words and phrases in the context of extended prose passages. These words and phrases are neither highly obscure nor specific to any one subject or body of knowledge. They are words and phrases whose specific rhetorical effect is established in large part through the context in which they are used.” https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/about/alignment/writing-language/subscores-shared-with-reading

“Expression of Ideas

Questions about expression of ideas focus on revision of text for topic development; organization, logic, and cohesion; and rhetorically effective use of language. Students may be asked to:

Replace a sentence with one that states the main claim more clearly.

Add evidence that supports an argument.

Remove an example that’s not relevant to the passage’s central idea.

Correct the writer’s interpretation of the data presented in a graph.

Ensure that information and ideas are presented in the clearest and most logical order.

Decide which word or phrase expresses an idea most clearly.

Choose between similar words with different connotations.

Revise language to get rid of wordiness or repetition.

Change a sentence so that it is more consistent with the passage’s style or tone.

Revise sentence structure to shift emphasis.

Combine two sentences effectively.

 

Standard English Conventions

Questions that contribute to this subscore focus on editing text to ensure conformity to the conventions of standard written English sentence structure, usage, and punctuation. These questions will ask a student to recognize and correct:

Grammatically incomplete sentences, run-ons, and comma splices.

Problems with coordination or subordination of clauses in sentences.

Sentences with similar parts that are not parallel.

Dangling and other misplaced modifiers.

Inappropriate shifts in verb tense, voice, and mood and in pronoun person and number.

Vague or ambiguous pronouns.

Confusion between the words its/it’s, your/you’re, and their/they’re/there, as well as other commonly confused words (e.g., affect and effect).

Lack of agreement between pronouns and antecedents, between subjects and verbs, and between nouns.

Illogical comparisons between unlike terms.

Cases of nonstandard expression (when words and phrases are used in a way not typical to standard written English).

Problems with using end-of-sentence punctuation or punctuation within sentences (particularly colons, semicolons, and dashes) to signal sharp breaks in thought.

Confusion between plurals and possessives and between singular and plural possessives.

Problems with punctuating a series of items.

Confusion between restrictive/essential and nonrestrictive/nonessential sentence elements.

Unnecessary punctuation (for example, between a subject and a verb).” https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/about/alignment/writing-language/subscores

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We also found the Sat question of the day starting daily in ninth grade to be helpful. Always read the answer explanation. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We did way more than look at subscores.  We analyzed, categorized, and charted every missed question on each practice exam that he took. We also made sure to include the ones he got right but was uncertain of the answer.  We studied why, very specifically why, he missed a question; and more critically, how he would make sure not to make the same mistake again.  Then we made a list, and I drilled him on all the ways he would reduce errors.  We did this and only this for 6 practise exams, and raised his verbal score from 700 to 780 in 4 weeks. Once he realized that there was an *objectively* correct answer, and that he just had to find the *evidence* in the text, his score shot up. 

Edited by lewelma
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Possibly better to concentrate on the PSAT/NMSQT which will be taken during October of the Junior year and reduce some of the stress on the student?    Also, ACT has a practice exam, possibly called the Pre ACT but I can't remember the name. Some students do much better on the SAT than on the ACT and v.v. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Lanny said:

Some students do much better on the SAT than on the ACT and v.v. 

This is true. My friend’s liberal arts DD had some private tutoring in math and ended up with perfect score on ACT. I should ask if they ever tried the SAT. 

Like the OP I’m still curious what improvement is possible. In our case, the year on year improvement since middle school is within the norm circa 50 points per section. Her friend seems to be wanting a miracle, sadly. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, madteaparty said:

 

Like the OP I’m still curious what improvement is possible. In our case, the year on year improvement since middle school is within the norm circa 50 points per section. Her friend seems to be wanting a miracle, sadly. 

  In my 8th grader's case, taking alg 2 was a big bump.  He took the PSAT 8/9 in 6th grade, with alg 1, geometry, and 1 year of Russian geometry, and got a projected SAT score of 560 (99th percentile for 8/9 graders). In 7th grade, he took the SAT with alg 2, and 1/2 precalc ( the algebra review half) and missed 5 questions for 690M (harsh curve). As far as SAT prep, he did about 10 math sections from Princeton and Barons over two months. We will take the SAT again at end of 8th.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My son took the SAT in 9th and again in 11th (spring both times) and his score went up over 200 points, with fairly minor prep (Khan academy a few minutes a day for a few months, with 2 or 3 full length practice tests). But you're talking about a score increase of twice that, which sounds really difficult. Some schools do ask to see all scores; when I realized that I had some regrets about having him take it so early....but I assume all the schools are able to look at the dates and see the reason for the big score increase. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am curious about what is possible as well. My kid took SAT in 7th and I want to have him retake it. While there isn’t much room for improvement in math, his English score could use some serious work. I am curious to see if and how much improvement he will manage. That could be a good study in “maturity” bump. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

I am curious about what is possible as well. My kid took SAT in 7th and I want to have him retake it. While there isn’t much room for improvement in math, his English score could use some serious work. I am curious to see if and how much improvement he will manage. That could be a good study in “maturity” bump. 

 

Honestly, Roadrunner, I wouldn't sweat it. The English portion is where time and maturity makes a HUGE difference, in my opinion, particularly for smart kids who might tend to want to "argue" with the test. They just need to figure out the there's a "right" answer, no matter how stupid or poorly written the question is, and to vomit it up. If I were you, I'd just have him do a little bit of regular practice on Khan Academy (as in, maybe 15 minutes, once or twice per week.) He's a smart cookie; he'll figure it out. 🙂

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Students do A LOT of growing and learn A LOT of school content between freshman year and junior year. I wouldn't be too concerned. If the student is 99% on other standardized tests, then I expected they will probably score in the same range on the SAT in a few years. I usually recommend that students don't start focusing on SAT until after their sophomore year. Here are my favorite books that help with both the content and strategy for SAT prep.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm just curious - why are kids taking the SAT in 7th and 8th grades? We weren't homeschooling at that point (in fact, my DD was in a Waldorf school through 8th grade so standardized testing was discouraged) but that would never have occurred to me. She did take the PSAT in 9th and 10th at her public HS - sadly missed the critical year for PSAT in 11th due to an unfortunate timing issue - and ultimately as a homeschooling 11th/12th grader she has earned a 1500 SAT superscore. Does taking it at a very young age provide any advantages in your experience?

Edited by kirag714

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, kirag714 said:

I'm just curious - why are kids taking the SAT in 7th and 8th grades? We weren't homeschooling at that point (in fact, my DD was in a Waldorf school through 8th grade so standardized testing was discouraged) but that would never have occurred to me. She did take the PSAT in 9th and 10th at her public HS - sadly missed the critical year for PSAT in 11th due to an unfortunate timing issue - and ultimately as a homeschooling 11th/12th grader she has earned a 1500 SAT superscore. Does taking it at a very young age provide any advantages in your experience?

 

For Talent Search and private school applications. That’s the reason we took it in 7th. 

Edited by Roadrunner
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, kirag714 said:

I'm just curious - why are kids taking the SAT in 7th and 8th grades? We weren't homeschooling at that point (in fact, my DD was in a Waldorf school through 8th grade so standardized testing was discouraged) but that would never have occurred to me. She did take the PSAT in 9th and 10th at her public HS - sadly missed the critical year for PSAT in 11th due to an unfortunate timing issue - and ultimately as a homeschooling 11th/12th grader she has earned a 1500 SAT superscore. Does taking it at a very young age provide any advantages in your experience?

 

As homeschoolers, we did it for talent search opportunities, which ultimately we never took advantage of. It can also provide a score for kids who might be ready for early college classes with dual enrollment, without having to take the test again early in high school. Some middle schools clue parents in to taking SAT or ACT if their children have high standardized test scores. 

It does provide a testing opportunity which doesn’t get looked at by colleges, though I am not sure how helpful that is for kids who already tend to test well or they wouldn’t be taking the test that young in the first place. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My daughter took the PSAT 8/9 two years ago with no preparation -- however, she had already completed Algebra 2 and Geometry.

Her scores were:  580 Math / 650 Verbal -- we looked over what she missed and why. (-4 Reading; -4 Writing; -9 Math)

In 10th grade (still no extra test preparation other than some minor review of math concepts) her scores were:  680 Math / 680 Verbal -- we did look over exactly what she missed and why, and linked her PSAT to Khan Academy (these scores were -2 Reading; -10 writing; - 8 math)

We added the blue books for Crtical Reading & Grammar, Khan Academy Math Review, and took about 4 practice tests over the following year (DD did NOT review the math portions as diligently as I had planned she should -- which did hurt her a bit, as she actually froze in the math sections). Her 11th grade scores were:  750 Verbal; 700 Math (she missed 2 Reading, 1 writing and 5 math).  

She then did a 6 week fast-track preparation for the 1 December SAT (mostly taking the last four tests reviewing what she would miss, why and then going over relevant sections in the blue books/PWN the SAT and an SAT prep course I had purchased (online).  

Her SAT scores on 1 December were: 770 Verbal (-2 Reading, -1 Writing) and 780 Math (-1) for a total of 1550.

DD had a strong reading background and math background (and, as you can see by what she missed, how much one "loses" for a missed question can vary wildly from test to test!).

In short, it's definitely possible to raise scores from 9th to 11th grade (or summer before senior year) from mid-500s to mid-700s. It does take work -- but planning out the work over time makes it much easier to digest, review and improve.  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/29/2018 at 6:19 AM, kirag714 said:

I'm just curious - why are kids taking the SAT in 7th and 8th grades? ...Does taking it at a very young age provide any advantages in your experience?

 

My dh and I both took it in 7th grade for talent search, so it seemed normal to have our kids take it too.  Mostly I liked that it demystified the SAT.  The exam isn't as scary as it's made out to be in the press.  And earning a respectable score as a 7th grader is reassuring.  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...