Finding the motivation and time to study for the SAT® exam can be tough. While the efficacy of studying for the SAT exam certainly can’t be denied, the good news is that studying isn’t the only way to raise your SAT score. Here, admission experts and educators share their non-study tips that could improve your score. Are they easy hacks? Definitely not. Most require serious effort, but these methods could be the supplement your SAT exam prep routine needs.

1. Read Something Challenging for 10 Minutes Every Day

“Grapple with difficult texts. Get comfortable with the discomfort of reading something that does not make complete sense to you. Over time, you will adjust to the language utilized in dry technical texts, which will help you increase your comprehension skills. This will, in turn, increase your score. Some examples include readings from Scientific American, National Geographic, The Economist, The Atlantic and works by writers from the 19th century or earlier.”

—Jason Patel, founder of Transizion

2. Practice With a Speed-Reading App

“So many students get scared of the reading passages and worry about how fast they need to comprehend the information. Download some speed-reading apps and start practicing. It can boost your confidence.”

—Erin Goodnow, Co-founder and CEO of Going Ivy

3. Understand Your Learning Style

“You might struggle in classes that require intense textbook reading but love classes where you engage in frequent participation. Ask yourself the following questions to determine how you learn best: Do I need interaction to learn, or do I work better independently? Do I need to take copious notes, or can I wing it? Am I an auditory or visual learner? Your answers will determine what method of study to undertake.”

—Jason Patel

4. Wake Up Early Every Day the Month Before

“Get yourself into a routine well in advance of the test day with a schedule of waking up early, eating a good breakfast and getting your mind active with reading or math work or something intellectual.” 

—Erin Goodnow

5. Schedule the SAT Exam During a Quiet Month

“Be sure to schedule your SAT [exam] at a time that works well for your overall schedule. The test is given seven times throughout each calendar year, so there are a lot of dates to choose from. It can be stressful to take the test during a busy sports, theater or speech and debate season or during finals.” 

—Bill Huston, Mindfish Test Prep

6. Do Practice Problems the Morning of the Test

“Do a couple of math problems or read a short story before driving to the test. You don’t want the first piece of math your eyes see that morning to be high stakes. This little warm-up is called priming, and it works!”

—Erin Goodnow

You certainly don’t have to do all these things, but consider trying the ones that speak to you. After all, the best way to raise your SAT score is by preparing for the test in a way that actually works for you. 

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