Does SAT Prep Really Help Improve Scores?

Find out how much studying for the SAT can help you improve your score and get accepted into college.

Does SAT Prep Really Help Improve Scores?

It's no secret that practice makes perfect, and when it comes to the SAT, investing time in preparation can make a huge difference in your score. According to the College Board, the manufacturer of the SAT, just 6 to 8 hours of personalized SAT prep can result in an average increase of 90 points. While test prep courses can improve your SAT or ACT scores, the improvements are usually minimal. Many of the statistics that boast high scores are from tutoring agencies trying to boost their reputation and attract customers.

The most likely improvement is an additional 30 points on the SAT and one or two points on the ACT. A study conducted by What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) revealed that SAT readiness has an impact on high school GPA, meaning that studying for the SAT can have a greater effect on overall academic performance than just the test itself. For years, the College Board maintained that test preparation couldn't significantly improve SAT scores, even though the lucrative test prep industry was built around this premise. The minimum SAT score for humanities or social science careers is 1000, while the minimum SAT score for STEM majors is 1100.

This is one of the most attractive statements made by test organizers and something that makes test prep seem very valuable. The better test scores attributed to SAT preparation may be related to an improvement in high school GPA. More than improving test scores, test-taking strategies are one of the most valuable things that SAT and ACT prep courses can teach you. The voluntary stance regarding SAT scores gives applicants a false sense of security that it will be easier to get accepted to college without submitting their scores.

Preparing for the SAT exam helps to increase the rate of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds who are admitted to elite and prestigious institutions, as it provides them with the skills necessary to improve their test scores and overall academic performance. Students who submit their scores on the SAT are 220% more likely to be admitted to college compared to those who don't. The SAT and ACT may not be as important in the future as they are now, and test preparation may not be as valuable. However, it's still important to understand how studying for these tests can help you achieve your academic goals.