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Top reasons why students score High GPA but low SAT score

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SAT & ACT preparation simultaneously? Should we prepare both?

Being a brilliant student, who had been getting a High GPA in school, but receiving a low SAT score? It is noticed that the scores in both examinations fluctuate greatly for many students. A student’s brilliance in academics can be determined by both or either one of the SAT and school’s High GPA scores. However, one may actually get a low SAT score whilst being excellent in their high school years, with a high GPA score. Vice-versa has been observed as well. Both the examinations are very different from each other; thus, a student has to prepare differently in order to maintain a High GPA score in school as well as avoid getting a low SAT score.



Scholastic Assessment Test, or better known as SAT examination, are more complicated in nature as compared to high school examinations. SAT actually differ as it includes questions that involve technique and problem-solving methods. Such exams allow students to tackle problems beyond bookish knowledge. SAT scores are important for taking admission to good colleges and universities. A low SAT score does become a problem, even if that same student has a High GPA from school. The marking system in the SAT exam is divided into two sections of scoring – one for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, and the other for Math. School exams are more linear in nature and allow a student to excel in a certain limitation. In schools, a student is let to study upon a material from which questions are framed and prepared for the examinations – thus, increasing the chances of the student getting a guaranteed score according to their preparation. The marking system in schools does vary from place to place, however, it has always been linear with the students I.e. the student receives grace marks if silly mistakes are made; or if a student writes a lengthy answer, they are given marks for efforts; etc.

There are many students, who have done extremely well in school but have gotten low SAT scores. Below in this article of EduQuest there is a list of reasons explaining why a student may have gotten low SAT scores even though they were doing academically well in school:

  • On an SAT exam, any mistake costs a full credit – therefore, there is no room for silly mistakes. Many students fail to realize that unlike school, SAT does not allow any grace or half marks. If there is a spelling mistake – the entire answer is observed to be incorrect.
  • Students usually do not look through all the guidelines or rules of the SAT examinations. The guidelines and rules of the SAT examination are very different from that of school. One should realize the difference, and work accordingly in order to obtain a very good score.
  • In order to obtain the maximum score on the SAT examination, the student must look into the minor differences present in the exam – as the minor differences make the major impacts. For example, if a student tries to solve a math question the way they solve such questions in school – they are more likely to make sillier mistakes, which will no fetch them any credit eventually.
  • One must utilize their time wisely, as in – since, all questions are worth the amount of credit, it doesn’t make sense to spend more time on hard questions. It would be smarter to answer all the easier questions first in order to gain more marks/credit.
  • Seeking proper SAT Coaching. Students who have scored extremely well in their school years, tend to believe that the SAT is a cakewalk. SAT is anything but a cakewalk, and proper guidance is required. Thus, it is advisable to seek SAT Coaching.
  • There are students who prepare for the SAT in the same way they have prepared for their school examinations. SAT Preparation is definitely more complicated than that. However, other than attending tuitions, one may seek help from social platforms, such as YouTube, for guidance.
  • GPA method of scoring for students in school gives more of a chance for a person to score better. A student may score well in two subjects, while one subject he/she hasn’t scored enough in comparison. In such a situation, the GPA score is the number that is scored in subjects on average, helps the student to obtain a High GPA in an overall scenario.
  • A High GPA has got nothing to do with a low SAT Score. It has been noticed that many students seem to justify their SAT preparation and performance with their High GPA scores. Unfortunately, even though both are equally important for college entrance or even for career, they do not have any link in general – hence, it’s always better to work hard on them both.

A student has to be mentally focused and be prepared for any question that can be thrown at them during the SAT examination. There are students, who have not done well in school but have scored extremely well in their SATs. This may be because their SAT Preparation has been different, or their SAT Coaching has been helpful – several other reasons as well. There is, of course, no restrictions on how many times one may wish to sit for the SAT exam – nevertheless, scoring well in SAT just like scoring a High GPA in school, seems to have become a challenge for many.


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