Websites like BigFuture can help you determine if your scores are in the right ballpark for your target schools, but it’s hard to know what will make the difference for any one application.
However, a survey from the National Association for College Admission Counseling offers some insight. It found that more than a third of admission counselors at postsecondary institutions agreed an increase of just 10 points on the critical reading score or a 20 point increase on the math score would “significantly improve student’s likelihood of admission,” especially at institutions where “ the SAT is used to define a cut-off threshold for admission.”
For context, though, that same study revealed that test scores rank third in admissions criteria, behind strength of curriculum and grades in college prep courses. Therefore, it’s important to select an SAT prep approach that optimizes your test scores while also balancing time demands of a rigorous course load.
The study also concluded that among high school SAT prep courses, commercial courses, private tutors, books, and computer programs, the “only methods of test preparation to have a significant effect on SAT-V and SAT-M score gains were formal modes of coaching: use of a private tutor and enrollment in a commercial coaching class.”
If you’d like help learning to think like the SAT test makers so that you can move quickly and confidently through the exam, I would be delighted to work with you. To get in touch, just click on my photo above to go to my profile, and then click on the "Contact Cindy" button.