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The Test Mentality that Got Me a 1500+ on the SAT

Updated: Apr 24

By Ava Kesler

The SAT material is not actually that difficult. It is designed to coincide with containing all the material from freshman and sophomore year of high school. The reading questions could be answered at any time just based on how much comprehension you demonstrate. The math questions require baseline knowledge, but nothing more.

So why do so many people struggle with the SAT?

The answer is simple: dedication and confidence.

You have to be dedicated to preparing for the SAT. While it is a straightforward test, you weren't born with the ability to get a 1600. It will require work. Anyone can take one day to study. Few will be consistent enough to study everyday and actually retain the information. You have to want it so bad that you study consistently with dedication.

The real secret though, is much simpler than having a good study routine and habits. The true thing that interferes with smart people getting high scores is test confidence. This truly made the difference for me between getting a relatively high score to an objectively competitive score of 1560.

You have to walk into the testing site like you own the place.

Driving to the test center, you should play music in the car if that's what you usually do. Trying to play a different genre or not playing any music at all will actually stress you out. The music will not be a distraction, but a comfort. If you want to bring 4 pencils but are too embarrassed to pull them out because everyone else only has 1, then pull out 6 pencils. Plop those pencils out on your desk, let them make noise. Flip pages in your test booklet like you're alone in your bedroom flipping through a magazine. Punch the numbers on the calculator and let them click and clack. Situate your water bottle, your snack, your jacket, and your extra calculator around/on your desk as if you have the entire room to yourself and are lounging there for fun.

This confidence will matriculate into your test-taking skills. By forcing your body language to be confident, you yourself will become confident, and this means you will read the passages with confidence. If you are sure in yourself, you will second guess less often, as well as comprehend things on the first try. Practicing this mentality will help you reach your goals.


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