Not attaining the SAT score that you know you can achieve can be very frustrating.

There’s a lot of pressure on these results and it’s easy to think low SAT scores are the end of the world. One bad score is just a setback though, and there’s a lot you can do to turn things around.

The great thing is, you’ve got a second chance, and now it’s up to you whether you take it. With the right steps, improving your SAT score is eminently possible, and you might be surprised by just what you can achieve.

How to Improve Your SAT Score

If you’re not happy with your SAT score, or you simply believe you can do a little better, there’s good news. People improve their SAT scores all the time, and sometimes, by far more than they ever would have thought possible. 

1. Goal Setting and Time Management

It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to achieve – goal setting and time management are going to play a vital part. Together, they provide a blueprint for how you’re going to improve your SAT scores, and when things do start to get difficult and you think “I can’t improve my SAT scores,” they offer the motivation you need to keep going. 

One of your first steps towards improving your SAT score should be creating SMART goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound 

This way, you can set yourself short-term and long-term goals, so that you have something to work towards at each stage of the journey. Here are some examples of what these might look like:

  • “Spend 5 hours a week practicing for the SAT” 
  • “Achieve a combined score of 1400 on my first take”
  • “Review my progress with a tutor weekly”

Once you have clear goals, then you can work out a schedule that’s going to allow you to get the most from your time. You have a limited timeframe to work with, so make sure you start planning early and give yourself the time you need to improve your SAT score.

2. Practice Tests 

Have you ever been watching sport and heard the commentator say something like “there’s no substitute for game time?” It means you can practice all you like (and this is an important part of the process), but when the pressure’s on and you’re playing for real, the time spent playing competitively is crucial. 

The same thing can be said for improving your SAT scores. Learning and improving your skills is important, but you’ve also got to be prepared to do it when it really matters. The best way to do this is to take practice tests and treat them like they’re the real thing. 

Get accustomed to everything you have to do when you take the test for real, understand the format, and get used to the types of questions the tests will ask you. When you walk into the room to take the test for real, it’s going to be very reassuring when you can sit down and think “I’ve seen this all before.”

Taking practice tests and preparing yourself for what you will experience on the day is a great step towards improving your SAT scores.

3. Active Learning

You can do all the practice you like, but if it’s low-quality practice, then it’s not going to have the desired effect. 

It’s one thing to do a practice test and simply mark your score. It’s another thing to go through and identify where you went wrong, why it went wrong, and where your weaknesses are. 

The more active learning you do, the easier it’s going to be to improve your SAT scores. 

When you sit down to practice for your SATs, you need to make sure you’re present and actively ready to learn. If you’re just going through the motions and ticking boxes without really thinking about the learning process, then you may find yourself asking “why is my SAT score not improving?”


If your SAT scores aren’t where you want them to be, then there’s no need to panic. The average improvement for test-takers is 50 to 60 points, however, with the right learning strategy, it’s possible to far exceed this number. 

Improving your SAT score can have a big impact on your future, so it’s well worth putting the time into creating the right study plan for your needs. If you’ve set good goals, show strong time management skills, treat practice tests like the real thing, and practice active learning, then you will give yourself a great shot. 

There’s no magic formula that will add points to your score, but with these tips and some hard work, it’s up to you how much you improve your SAT score.