SAT and ACT score improvement

What are reasonable expectations for improvement?

Often times students come to us not knowing what to expect for improvement on the SAT and ACT. We always ask students for a goal score, and usually the answer is something along the lines of, “As much as possible!”

The problem is that “as much as possible” is far too of vague a goal to ever be met on the SAT and ACT. The best way to accomplish a goal on the SAT and ACT is to set a specific goal. As specific as possible. On the SAT, 100 points is a small but reasonable amount of improvement. 200 points is significant improvement, 300 points is remarkable improvement. Beyond 300 points, while certainly doable, is not an advisable goal. What this means is that you should be looking at what universities will accept students with scores within 300 points of your current score. Using your SAT goal score, you can set a reasonable but exciting goals for exam study and college admission. This is not to say you cannot improve by more than 300 points on the SAT. We have seen students improve by as much as 600 points. But setting goals within your reach is important.

On the ACT, one or two points is reasonable improvement. Three or four points is significant improvement. More than four points on the act is excellent. While many of our students improve by more than four points, we do not recommend setting a goal score for the ACT more than four points higher than your current score. Armed with a well informed, ambitious goal score on the ACT, you can focus on a good study plan for the exam, and research colleges and universities that accept students with ACT scores within your range.

By all means set your hopes and dreams on schools that excite you, but keep in mind that score improvement beyond four points on the ACT and beyond 300 points on the SAT is less than common. Some SAT and ACT companies will take advantage of unrealistic expectations of students. We here at Higher Learning Test Prep like to be clear about our expectations and the expectations of our students. We’ve seen ACT scores improved by 9 points. We’ve seen SATs scores improved by 600 points. If you give yourself enough time, and the right tutor, the sky is truly the limit. A perfect score on the SAT or ACT test is absolutely reachable. But for most students, in most situations, reasonable yet ambitious SAT and ACT goal scores lead to successful test taking and successful admissions.

If you’d like to discuss your goal score for the SAT and or ACT in greater detail, feel free to drop us a line.

Happy studying!
Jeremy Ciampa
Director at Higher Learning Test Prep