Jun 06, 2020
How to Achieve from 1000 to 1600 on the SAT

To start your SAT journey from 1000 to 1600, here are some resources to get you started:

SAT Quickstart – Learn 10 powerful strategies for SAT success in this short course.

Practice SATs – 6 complete, real practice SATs released by the College Board.

SAT Downloads – SAT Vocabulary List & Grammar Diagnostic Test.

Once you have your resources, you need the right strategy. Beating the SAT is about mastering three interrelated aspects:

  1. Content – math concepts, grammar rules, etc.
  2. Application – reasoning skills, math problem solving, reading comprehension, writing skills.
  3. Test-taking skills & strategies – familiarity with the SAT, pacing, test awareness, scratchwork, etc.

In what follows I’m going to discuss what you need to master in these categories in order to reach four key score levels – 1000-1100, 1200-1300, 1400-1500, and 1600.

The number of correct answers required to get to a certain score level are estimates, so use them as rough guidelines for now.

How to Get 1000 to 1100 on the SAT

# Math Correct
(out of 58)

# Reading Correct
(out of 52)

# Writing Correct
(out of 44)

I’m starting at 1000 (500 Math, 500 Reading & Writing) because getting to the “average” score is the first big hurdle for many students. Those stuck in the 300s and 400s in each section usually have massive gaps in their math content knowledge, grammar rule knowledge, and reading skills. The prescription for a 1000 includes:

  • learning the basic content required for the math and grammar sections
  • strengthening basic reading skills
  • focusing on the easy and medium questions
  • gaining expertise on the SAT itself – you should have perfect knowledge of what’s on the test and the best general strategies

In sum, an 1100 should be obtainable for almost every student who takes SAT practice seriously.

Students in this range should use their time effectively by focusing on the easies and mediums – any time spent on the hards is probably time that could be better spent elsewhere.

How to Get 1200 to 1300 on the SAT

# Math Correct
(out of 58)

# Reading Correct
(out of 52)

# Writing Correct
(out of 44)

I believe that most students can get an 1200 (600 Math, 600 Reading & Writing) if they put in the effort, though for some that commitment may be too onerous to handle. To get an a 1200, you need to know all of the above in addition to:

  • more in depth content knowledge – you don’t need to know everything, but you should understand the majority of the math concepts and grammar rules
  • above average reading skills and vocabulary knowledge
  • overall knowledge of the ideal strategies for tackling each section
  • above average reasoning skills

How to Get 1400 or 1500 on the SAT

# Math Correct
(out of 58)

# Reading Correct
(out of 52)

# Writing Correct
(out of 44)

This is where the big jump occurs from content to application. Even though it’s “only” 200 points, these are a much harder 200 points to get than the last two jumps. You will have fewer questions to work with and less room for error. To get a 1400+ (700 Math, 700 Reading & Writing) you need:

  • all of the math and grammar content – no gaps at all
  • a superior vocabulary. Unfortunately, this level of vocabulary is often difficult to obtain from flash cards alone
  • excellent reading skills.
  • excellent reasoning skills – in other words, you need to be spot on with your problem solving techniques and approaches.
  • mastery of all SAT strategies and techniques.

To get a score in the 1400 region, you can no longer afford to avoid the hards – you need to take them head on. In fact, you have almost no room to omit. Sure, you can drop a question or two if necessary, but omit too many and you won’t even have a chance to get your score even if you get all the ones you tried correct.

Perhaps most important is to avoid mistakes on easy and medium questions. Sloppy mistakes early in sections just kill your score potential, so you need to balance speed and accuracy. You’ll want to spend enough time on each question to ensure accuracy, but too much time spent could leave you in a rush near the end of the section – and forget even trying to check your answers in this scenario. Thus, you really need to be keep the time remaining in the back of your mind as you are working through sections. And don’t get bogged down!

How to Get 1600 on the SAT

# Math Correct
(out of 58)

# Reading Correct
(out of 52)

# Writing Correct
(out of 44)

What do you need to get a 1600 (800 Math, 800 Reading & Writing), the elusive perfect score, on the SAT?

  • You need to know all the math and grammar content so well that it is second nature – you shouldn’t have to sit around trying to remember rules or concepts. They should be at hand almost instantly.
  • You need an excellent vocabulary. Unfortunately, an excellent vocabulary is hard to attain from flash cards alone.
  • Your reading and reasoning skills need to be top notch. We’re not talking merely “good” – we’re talking top 1% quality.
  • You need to have time to spare to check your answers. This is perhaps the best way to avoid the silly mistakes that could crush your chances at a perfect score.

The essay score is optional, and your essay score does not combine with your multiple choice scores in any way. For more information on crushing the SAT essay, check out Reason Prep’s FREE New SAT Essay Course.

You need to be more specific. Thinking in terms of point gains is not really helpful since score increases are not created equal. Raising your score 100, 200, or 300 points means different things in different score ranges. For instance, the difference between a 1000 and a 1200 and a 1200 and 1400 is significant: Even though they are both “200 point increases,” the study strategies and content and skills required are far different.

Instead of thinking of point gains, think in terms of the content and skills you need to learn in order to reach your score goals.

A consider a drastic improvement to be anything beyond a 300 point gain. It is possible to see 300, 400, or more points improvement, but but to do so you’ll have to do a drastic amount of work. Going from 1000 to 1400, for example, often means a reversal of a trend – years of academic neglect or poor instruction can be hard to overcome in a year, much less a few months. This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to make these gains, just that you’ll have to make an extraordinary commitment to meet those goals.

Next Steps

What to do next? Check out my SAT courses – some of which are free – to help you boost your scores to the next level.

Also, feel free to leave a comment below if you have a question about your situation, or contact me.

Comments 0

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required

Comment