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Making a study abroad exam plan, which exam plan is best


Making a study abroad exam plan, which exam plan is best

SAT, SAT II, and AP Tests: Is it wise to prepare for them at the same time?

Before starting in on the strategies to be followed, let’s brush up on what these exams are. As we know, SAT scores are important for getting into colleges. It is a standardized test format that will be required for most college application forms. On the other hand, SAT II is subject-specific tests that are not compulsory for the college applications as the student can opt-out of it. Whether SAT II tests are compulsory for you depend on which college you want to apply to. Different colleges have various policies relating to SAT II. Just like the SAT exams, Advanced Placement exams or most commonly known as the AP exams are offered by the College Board too. AP exams are measures on a five-point scale grading system, and it measures the relative mastery that the students have on various subjects.

Out of these three exams, SAT II and AP tests are most similar to each other. They are not absolutely the same thing, but the trick is that preparing for one will ultimately help in preparation for another. The notable differences among them are that AP exams are geared towards testing the competence of the students with respect to the first-year college material, and the SAT II or SAT subject tests are formed to test the students on their mastery over the high school syllabus. Obviously, there is no one-to-one correspondence between AP and SAT II because currently, there are 38 AP courses while there are only 20 SAT subject test options.



Consider your current score

If you are already scoring 600 on SAT Reading then this article will help you close the gap but if your score remains below 600, then you will need extra help. It is recommended that you should look for materials that will help you reach the 600 score level in your SAT Reading and then come back to this specific article and learn how to close the gap between 600 and 800. SAT coaching has different formats and strategies and the format for a student trying to reach the 600 scores will be different than the format of the SAT coaching of a student trying to reach the 800 SAT Reading score.

Additionally, this article is geared more towards the SAT Reading scores. The SAT has both reading and writing portions, but this article will not be dealing with the writing portion. To get an 800 on SAT Reading and Writing it is essential to get a 40 out of 40 scores in Reading. 


It is not a well-kept secret that scoring high on the SAT will benefit you. Many people and internet blogs are filled with advice on how to get the perfect score but all of them are very generic and lack experience. This article will discuss the reasons why aiming for an 800 score in SAT Reading and Writing is a good idea and how to go about it. Instead of offering generic advice such as “Do not forget to guess every question!”, we are going to provide you with specific tips and tricks you can include in your SAT preparation. On top of that, all the updates on the SAT exam have been considered while writing this article of EduQuest, so the student will not face an issue there.

Why should I aim for an 800 score on my SAT Reading and Writing?

Facts and Figures are important when discussing SAT scores. An SAT score of 1550 or above is going to be seen as the same as an SAT 1600 score. No institution will be giving you more credit for getting 1590 that a 1560 score in SAT. This is because according to them you have already crossed a certain level and now the rest of the application process will depend on other things too. Once you across the score threshold, you can stop worrying about the SAT. You will be considered for the Ivy League colleges and there is time to work on your other things in your application.

Low scores?

The scenario is a bit different if you have not crossed that level. If your score is stuck below 1540, and you dream of going to an Ivy League college you still have a lot of work to do. It is relatively easier to get an SAT score of 1450 than a 1550 so it will be worth your time to improve your scores. The target is to be above average while considering colleges like Harvard and Princeton.

Why SAT Reading and Writing?

You are convinced that 1550 is the level to be sought but why the additional stress of getting an 800 in SAT Reading and writing? Doing this will help the student in balancing the weaknesses in other portions of the SAT exam. When you go for applications, schools will pay more attention to the composite scores than the individual portions. A perfect score of 40 in SAT Reading will make it easier for you to inch towards the 1550 level.

But that is not all. If a student is bent on applying for the humanities or the social science subjects, SAT Reading will have a lot of importance. Hen colleges consider applications, they will start comparing. When you apply for the humanities or the social sciences, you are going to be competing with other students who have similar interests. And they will have remarkable SAT Reading skills. If you remain unconvinced, take a look at the SAT Reading scores from the top colleges like Princeton and Harvard. The 75th percentile SAT Reading score in these great colleges happen to be at least 770.  So if you can work your way towards an 800 score, that means you will be on an equal metric. But it will take a lot of focus and a ton of hard work.

Mental Outlook

Students have heard this a lot. Believing that you are capable has a lot of positive consequences in your results. If you do a bit of research you will get to know that people who weren’t that strong in SAT Reading still managed to get a high score of 800 in their SAT Reading and writing, so it is not impossible. The SAT exam is a standardized exam and SAT scores will be a reflection of how hard you study and also you smart you are at your study methods.

SAT Reading

The SAT Reading portions are designed to trick you. It is important to know how to win at it. The questions that students face at school will be nothing like the questions in the SAT Reading exams so your SAT coaching will guide you through it. Unlike the high school English curriculum, the SAT Reading portion questions have only one correct answer. The questions are designed so that you get confused between similar sounding answers and start to guess. Often you guess wrong. The thing to know is that for every question there is a 100% unambiguously correct answer.

Strategies and Planning

Now we are heading on to the main part without wasting any more of your time. SAT Reading score of 800 will need great SAT coaching strategies and we have listed some tried and tested strategies below to help you out.

  • Strategy 1 Weaknesses

The most important thing in any exam is to understand your weaknesses perfectly. You need to figure out what is lacking in your SAT Reaching preparation and format your SAT coaching concerning that. The main way to find out your specific weaknesses in the SAT Reading portion is by taking a lot of practice tests.

  • First, a student should go and find an official SAT practice test and take the Reading section only.
  • The student should also use a timer for each section, and treat it as an actual test.

If you complete that section within the time then there is nothing else to consider and you can move on to the next one. But if you arent done within the stipulated time, then keep on working on it but mark your answer with a special note saying “Extra Time”. This will help in your evaluation.

When you are done with the practice test, you should start using the answer key and score chart. But remember that your score will be divided into two parts. One will be the real score that you earned with the time slot and the other with the “extra time” questions.

A separate marking mechanism will help you In finding out your weaknesses. Below we have classifications of your extra time score, which will categorize weaknesses.

If your extra time score is below 35, then you have weaknesses in strategy and content.

If your extra time score is above 35, then it is time to look at the actual scores that you got.

If your realistic score is less than 35, then you have some issues. If the difference between the realistic score and extra time score is more than three points, your SAT coaching needs a lot of work. Your main problem in this case is time management. When this occurs, you have to consider whether you are implementing the best SAT Reading strategies available to you, like the best passage reading strategy.

But if your realistic scores are also above 35, then you have a good shot of getting an 800 in your SAT Reading and Writing portions. If the difference in your scores is more than two points then you will have to take the time to learn how to solve the SAT Reading questions more quickly.

  • Strategy 2- Elimination of answers

As mentioned before the SAT Reading questions will have only the right answers. The flip side is that three of the four options will have something that is the wrong thing in them. If you can figure out how to eliminate these three answers then you are set for the 800 SAT Reading and Writing score. You have to consider every single word in those options given because they are there for a reason. Even if the passage text does not support a single word in the answer, then that answer is not the correct one.

Prediction of answers

Before the student goes on to read the answer options, he or she should have the correct answer ready concerning the passage. If you apply this strategy then you can eliminate the trickiness factor of the similar-sounding answer options. The best thing is to come up with the correct answer. Keep in mind that the given passage must support the choice of your answer. To implement this strategy, you have to read and understand the passage pretty well.

The experiment then find the best fit

It is difficult to state in an article which passage reading strategy will work out for you. Some students swear by reading the questions before reading the passage but some opt for reading the passage first. Some popular methods are-

Skim reading the passage and then read the questions

Skim reading the passage means that just going through it without trying to understand every single line. This is just for the general understanding of the passage and tries to finish skim-reading under three minutes. Next, you should go to the questions. If some of the questions have line numbers associated with it try to go back to that specific line and understand it.

Lastly, if a student cannot answer a question within the time frame of thirty seconds, they should drop it and go for the next question.

The important part of implementing this method is that you must be able to skim read effectively.

Reading the questions and then marking the passage

This is also popular and if this is followed then it will be as effective as the first strategy. Before reading the passage, the student should go and read every single question. And when the student encounters questions with line numbers, they should go back and mark those lines. After doing all this, they should skim read the passage, and then try to answer the questions.

Standard method

This method is standard for school students because this is what they have been taught. You need to study the passage thoroughly and understand it. And only then you can go ahead and attempt the questions. This method is very rarely followed as it involves taking in a lot of information that is not important for the SAT Reading section and you may run out of time.

  • Strategy 3 –Identifying the pattern of mistakes

Make sure that all your weaknesses are covered and the simple way to do this is to practice a lot. If the student has access to free materials and books then, he or she will have a lot of practice problems in hand. Be ruthless in analyzing the mistakes that you have made and categorize them. Work on them effectively. If a student fails to understand why they have made that mistake they are bound to repeat the same mistake over and over again.Therefore it is important to understand the pattern of mistakes, and for that, we advise students to attempt 4-5 different and unique questions sets and note all the mistakes to identify a common pattern of mistakes. You need to make a list of the questions that you missed in a mock test and list the reasons why you have missed it. This can help the students to identify the real reasons or pattern behind their low scores.

Some additional tips for scoring high are-

  • Strategy 4- Focus on the italicized introduction

Many students ignore this, but you should not be one of them. Knowing the introduction gives you context, and this in turn helps in your reading.

  • Strategy 5- Be interested

It is not easy to be interested in whatever passage you are reading, but you can at least try to be. If you are not interested, it is easy to tune out and miss out on valuable information in the passage.

  • Strategy 6- Vocab is important but not that much

Many people continue to keep stressing about vocab because it makes them feel productive. The SAT Reading vocab will have common words that will be used in an unusual sense. No need to gobble up the meaning of obscure and difficult words no one uses anymore.

  • Strategy 7- Don’t spend too much time on books and magazines

If you have been a lifelong reader then this will be an advantage, but if that is not the case then this is not the optimal time to start. Concentrate on your SAT coaching and specific strategies.

  • Strategy 8- Extra time

 It is always a good idea to finish early and use the extra time for checking your answers.


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