Bad SAT Luck: Dealing with Disappointing Scores
For some people, March is a lucky month filled with pots of gold and four-leaf clovers. For others, it may be the month of dealing with disappointing SAT scores. A little advice from a pro: take a deep breath, push through, and try again.
The SAT test is a process. It is not a one or two-shot deal. And, there is a luck factor!
A majority of SAT performance is, of course, practice and preparation. But, as an SAT tutor I’m not ashamed to admit that there are some easier tests and some much harder tests (Yes, I’ve even missed a sentence completion or reading question!). If your child “bombs” the March test, do not give up. Rather, your child needs to get angry, get motivated, get over it, and try again.
First, there are many things outside of your child’s control that can drastically affect scores.
- The “Experimental Section”: There’s always one extra section on the test that doesn’t count towards the score. If this section happens to be reading, you can expect scores to drop.
- Sick, sniveling, 30-tissue kid in the next desk over: Concentrating for four hours is hard as is, and with the sneezy boy sitting next to you, it can be impossible!
- Idiotic Proctor: Inexperienced (or just idiotic) proctors can shave off time from each section, forbid students from having water, or be distracting in general.
- Allergy season: Need I say more?
Students need to remember that this is a standardized test: it is predictable, patterned, and involves practice. Students should use their score reports to work on weak areas. Remember, students can take this test several times, so focus, fine tune, and improve.
- Remain confident: Tell them about a time you did not reach your potential on the first try.
- Understand that you’re behind them: Let them know that they haven’t let you down.
- Visualize Success: They should think about a time that they did reach their potential and use this as motivation.
- Blast a Pump up Song: Sometimes just listening to a good song can shake a bad mood. Try David Powter’s “Bad Day.”
So a bad score may be chalked up to a bad day, a bad test, or any number of things. The key is to move on and focus on the next opportunity.