8 months ago
Admissions Advice

SAT is harder or easier

I just want to know if the real SAT is harder or easier compared to the official practice test and if i got 1360 in SAT practice at first how much time should i invest to get 1500+


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2 answers

Accepted Answer
8 months ago

The real SAT is not harder or easier than official CollegeBoard practice tests, because every SAT is scored differently. The SAT curve refers to how harshly or leniently they will grade each section, in comparison to how everyone who took that particular test did. The Practice Tests work the same way, so your grade should stay consistent (give or take about 40 points every test) even if you take a, per say, "easier" or "harder" test.

Personally, I got my score from a 1380 to a 1560 on the real SAT after studying for 2 months over last summer. Scoring well on the SAT is more based on if you know the pattern and tricks for the SAT, rather than your school curriculum.

Good Luck on your tests!

8 months ago

If you get 1360 on a practice test, the best answer I can give you if you take a single practice test is that you will fall into a range of possible scores something like 1270-1400 depending on 1.) how you feel on the test day, whether you are well-rested or not, whether you had a good breakfast or not and any other mitigating stressful situations in your life like are you taking the test in the summer or in the middle of studying for finals or AP exams 2.) the test environment (lighting, heating or cooling, setup, any delays in start times or breaks, crowdedness, where you sit in the room, 3. which test is administered, either an easier math section or easier English section, 4. location of the test center, whether you had to travel a short distance or travel overnight to get there in some cases, 5. and whether or not you did more test preparation between your last practice test or not and lastly 6. whether 1360 was your highest practice test out of 1 try, 5 tries, or 10 tries.

All these factors contribute to how well you actually do on test day.

Imagine you are a runner. You have a big race coming up and the best time you have run a mile in 5 minutes self-timed. Will you break 5 minutes at the track meet? It all depends on the same sort of factors. If the stars align and you have a perfect day, perhaps you will break your best time. But the chances are greater that you will not.

Every year nearly 2.2 million students take the SAT and 1.8 million take the ACT. Studies have shown that in general students score slightly higher on their 2nd try of the official test because they better understand what to expect and study in between the 1st and 2nd try. But remember that the average score is like 1060. So it doesn't really take much effort to improve from a baseline score of 1060 say to 1120, maybe you just have to answer a couple more questions correctly. But to go from 1360 to 1520 is very difficult. I looked at the college board tables and that's going from a 91% percentile to a 99% percentile score.

To master the SAT, you have to master the art of taking the test, in addition to fully understanding the content. In order to do that, there are many good books in addition to SAT Official guides that include the practice tests that may or may not help you. The books I used are the following

- each and every one of the College Panda series

- Dr.Chungs math problems for SAT

- Erica Meltzer's reading for the SAT

- SAT Prep Black Book

- PWN the SAT Math

I would suggest that study a few hours a day 5 days a week and on Saturdays take a timed practice test. I recommend spending 8 to 12 weeks on this or until you are consistently scoring above 1500 on your practice tests. Mask up, bring a water bottle and take each section exactly according to the SAT schedule. After each practice test, take a break, then calculate your score spend an hour or so understanding all your mistakes and if you are really stuck on something, allocate some time to learn that area better. In my opinion, your progress will depend on whether you are better and learning math versus English. For many students getting the math section perfect is an easier task.

If you get like 1500+ say 4 times, I think you are ready for the real one. If you can't get to 1500 or say you take 8 practice tests and only get 1500 once or maybe twice, then you need to reassess. You may have to consider other options like signing up for an online SAT course like SuperTutorTV or hiring an SAT coach.

If you are still stuck in the 1400s, then you should consider taking the ACT. For some students, the ACT is easier than the SAT because it only has 1 math section worth 25% of your score versus 50% of your score. Although there is a STEM/Science section, that is difficult but can be mastered with enough test prep. After watching a lot of ACT videos I found that many ACT test-takers get higher English and Reading scores, so so math scores and bomb the science section. A typical composite score might be 33 E, 32 M, 33 Reading, and 28 Science. The nice thing about the ACT is that if your composite is say 31.5 you get bumped to a 32 composite score.

Good luck.


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