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How to Get a Perfect Score on the SAT? Everything You Need to Know to Ace the Test

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

SAT exams are tough already and getting a perfect SAT score may seem like an onerous task for most students. But a perfect score is attainable with the right amount of preparation and hard work. The minimum SAT score is 400 and the maximum is 1600. While only a few students are able to attain a perfect score in SAT exams, aiming for perfection right from the beginning will help students achieve their goals faster.

SAT has three sections named Math, Reading and Writing. Each section is scored out of 800 and students would need to obtain 800 in every section to attain the perfect score. This article will walk you through some useful tips to attain a perfect score in SAT exams.

How to get a perfect SAT score?

Each section of the SAT tests specific skills and knowing exactly what is covered in each section will help students prepare and develop the necessary skills. SAT is a standardized test which tests the same topics in each section every year. The key to achieve a perfect score is to get well-acquainted with the question types and test format beforehand.

What does a perfect score look like?

The highest SAT score that a student can achieve in a SAT exam is 1600 which is termed as a perfect score. Students need to prove their skills in all the three sections so they can obtain a perfect 1600. The scoring system of SAT may seem confusing for many students but the right guidance and preparation will go a long way in helping students achieve the desired score.

How to get a perfect 800 SAT Math score?

SAT Math only tests knowledge of basic mathematical concepts but the format might be tricky making it seem like the test is too hard to crack. To obtain a perfect score on SAT Math, one first needs to be acquainted with the questions and format. Math questions can be categorized into topics such as Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, Passport to Advanced Math and additional math topics such as trigonometry, complex numbers among others. Math has two sections - one that permits the use of a calculator and the other without a calculator. Once you are acquainted with all the sections and the overall structure of the exam, you need to work on your pace. Time yourself during practice tests and make sure you crack all the questions with a few minutes left to spare for cross checking.

How to get a perfect Reading score?

The Reading section might be a bit challenging for students as it involves reading the passages and answering questions based on these passages within a stipulated time. Students are allotted 65 minutes to finish the Reading section. The Reading section consists of a passage from a classic or world literature, a passage or a pair of passages from a U.S. founding document or a text in the Great Global Conversation, a selection about economics, psychology, sociology, or some other social science, and two science passages (or one passage and one passage pair). It is recommended that students first acquaint themselves with diverse topics so they will have to spend less time reading and understanding passages on the test day. Having a fair idea of the topics that might appear in the exam will be immensely helpful to reduce stress and finish the exam with more ease.

How to get a perfect Writing score?

The Writing section tests students’ skills to spot errors in passages. Students are expected to rectify the passages with the right punctuations and grammar. Understandably, most students get confused with commas, colons, semicolons, dashes and other punctuation marks. Obtaining a perfect score in the Writing section would need students to be proficient in grammar, punctuation, expression of ideas, subject area analysis, command of evidence and standard English conventions. Students are allotted 35 minutes to complete the Writing section.

What steps need to be taken to achieve a perfect score?

The SAT exam may suddenly start to seem too stressful once you set a goal to obtain a perfect score. This is why you need a workable plan that will help you breeze through the test with confidence. SAT exams test your knowledge as well as your ability to handle the pressure and finish the exam on time. Self-assessment, planning, using the right study resources and getting enough rest in between study sessions are few of the important things to consider when preparing for the test. Here are a few general guidelines as well as common mistakes to avoid when appearing for SAT exams.

Perfect SAT score
Perfect SAT score is achievable with a workable plan

General guidelines for students to achieve the perfect SAT score

1. Know the test format

Acquaint yourself with the exam format before you start preparing. While most students may be naturally bright in Math, Reading and Writing, the lack of understanding of the test format gets in the way of achieving a perfect score. The SAT exam pattern has undergone several changes ever since it was first introduced. It is important to keep up with the changes and adapt your preparation techniques accordingly. All questions in all sections except the grid-in section in Math would be in MCQ format with four choices. An 800 in Math section and an 800 in Reading and Writing sections combined is essential for a perfect score.

2. Understand the scoring system

Since exams like ACT have a 36 point scale, the scoring system of SAT with 1600 point scale may seem a bit confusing. Raw scores are first calculated in the SAT exam and then converted on a scale of 200 to 800. Reading and Writing scores are calculated on a scale of 10 to 40 first which are then added together and multiplied by 10 to convert it to a scale of 200 to 800. One must have a fair idea of the scoring system before appearing for the exam. You also need to know how many maximum mistakes you can make without compromising on your perfect score goals. Once you know the SAT exam inside out, you will be in a better position to nail the perfect score.

3. Start your preparations well in advance

It is important to start preparations in advance so students have enough time to learn, revise, and practice. The sooner you start your preparations, the easier it will be to achieve a perfect score in the first attempt. The biggest advantage of preparing in advance is that students will get enough time to be thorough with all the concepts and appear for the test with absolutely no stress. It is quite natural for students to experience nervousness and anxiety during exams but you can overcome that to a certain extent if you start your preparations in advance.

4. Set smaller goals

A goal oriented approach is quite essential for students aiming for a perfect score. While the larger goal is to achieve the perfect score, it wouldn’t hurt to set smaller goals and break down the preparation process into several steps so it doesn't seem too overwhelming. Identify your weaknesses and create a schedule that will help tackle the weaknesses one by one. If you think Math is the hardest subject, set a goal to master the difficult sections within a week or two. Setting such smaller goals will help you track your own progress and lead you closer to a perfect score. Seek expert advice whenever you feel stuck as a lot of time is too often wasted due to lack of knowledge about the right methods and techniques to prepare.

5. Review your own tests

Mindlessly taking as many practice tests as possible and being clueless about which areas need improvement isn’t going to lead you anywhere. Once you set goals and work towards achieving them, you also have to assess whether you are able to achieve those goals. Take practice tests and see whether you are able to perform well consistently. Work on sections where you haven’t been able to score well and take practice tests again. Critical analysis of your tests is necessary not just to spot the weak areas but to pinpoint what exactly is the reason behind the low scores.

6. Practice, practice and practice

Don’t stop practicing the moment you see an improvement in scores. Keep practicing until you are fully confident. A perfect score doesn’t come that easy which is why it is important to go an extra mile when it comes to preparations. Most often, it’s the time limit and stress that results in low scores. Students need to master the art of time management alongside polishing their knowledge and skills. Efficiency is extremely important and countless hours of practice is the only way to achieve that.

A teacher tutoring a student
Practice makes a perfect score

Common Problems That Prevent Students From Getting High Scores

Despite preparing well in advance and diligently following all the rules and instructions, students sometimes find themselves struggling with low scores. Listed below are a few common problems that students need to be aware of so they can put conscious efforts to avoid them:

1. Wasting time on a single question

Questions that seem too tricky or complex to solve should be left for later. Students often start solving questions only to realize halfway through the test that the questions are a bit too complicated than they thought. Eventually, they end up staying stuck on a single question when there are multiple questions pending to be solved. Students feel the pressure to finish the question they started first and neglect other questions in the pursuit of getting that one answer right. Instead, solve all the easier ones first and go back to the tougher ones later to better manage your time and score high.

2. Hurriedly solving questions

Another common mistake made by the students during the test is rushing through the questions without paying enough attention. Students have a tendency to skim through the questions quickly, and in the process, miss a few questions here and there or commit silly mistakes. While you don’t want to spend too much time on each question, you can’t afford to solve questions hurriedly either. Take your time to solve each question and make sure you aren’t skipping any. Professional tutors can help students understand the ideal amount of time to be assigned for each question. Stay away from all distractions and give your undivided attention to attempting questions to maximize your chances of having a perfect score.

3. Misinterpreting questions

In an attempt to finish all the questions on time, students end up misinterpreting a few questions. Despite having thorough understanding of all the concepts, misreading a question will only lead to wrong answers. To avoid this, students must keep their mind calm and read the question till they are absolutely clear about what is expected of them. If you are unable to decode the question even after reading it multiple times, it’s better you proceed with the next question and come back later. More often than not, silly errors are responsible for low scores rather than lack of knowledge.

4. Lack of clarity of certain concepts

Students who are aiming for perfect scores can’t afford to skip learning any concept. As mentioned earlier, Math and Reading and Writing are compulsory sections and one needs to have a clear understanding of all the concepts that will be tested in these sections. There might be some fresh concepts that students may have to learn from scratch. The test format may also make simple concepts seem confusing and difficult to understand. It’s best to seek advice from tutors who can guide you through all the academic concepts tested in the SAT exam.

How many questions can you miss and still get a perfect SAT score?

The SAT exams follow a scoring process that adjusts the slight differences in the difficulty level between various tests. Since each section is adjusted differently, students can miss a few questions and still get a perfect score. However, it is important to note that the Math section is the least forgiving of all and students need to get correct answers for all questions to obtain the highest score. Coming to the Reading and Writing sections, it is possible to miss one question in the Writing section. Your aim however should always be to get all answers correct in all sections. Don’t appear for the test thinking you can easily skip some questions and earn full points. Such an attitude will drastically affect your scores.

Winding up

A perfect 1600 on SAT is definitely not unachievable. The only prerequisite to ace this test is a disciplined, focused and determined approach. Setting an ambitious goal such as a perfect score will motivate students to work harder and obtain impressive results.

A well-planned study schedule and access to top quality resources are key components determining success for students in SAT. Approximately 2 million students take the test every year out of which only 500 manage to get a perfect score. But this should not discourage you from pursuing your dream of a perfect score. If you are optimistic and have the right mindset, you can definitely achieve this goal.

Compared to a few years ago, there are multiple resources available online dedicated to SAT preparation which makes it easier for students to achieve their desired scores. But it is also a fact that relying solely on online materials without any guidance can make the preparation process quite challenging. It’s always recommended to choose a reputable training institute that has enough experience in training students to achieve the best possible scores.

Prestige Institute is one of the frontrunners in assisting students with SAT/ACT preparation courses. One of the biggest advantages of studying with Prestige is that it ensures fast preparation for students with an individualized care system designed with each student’s customized needs in mind. Prestige underlines efficient prep that helps students get the score they need in minimized time and move on to the next step in their application process. Plus, Prestige has online and in-person classes and tutoring led by top-tier instructors with expert knowledge on the recent test trend. Wish to improve your SAT scores? Get in touch with us today for an in-depth understanding of all academic subjects and get your desired scores! Start preparing on Prestige’s digital platform by answering real-test questions. Take a free level test or a free consultation now.

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