Use Games to Improve Your SAT Score
By Joey, Master Tutor
When it comes to improving SAT scores, there’s no substitute for comprehensive test prep. However, there are activities you can do outside of studying to help reframe how you approach certain test problems and concepts. Games in particular are an excellent way to practice setting and achieving goals, as well as problem solving under pressure.
SAT or ACT prep can become boring and exhausting pretty quickly if students aren’t able to switch up their approach every now and then. Especially if students are just working through and endless series of problems, or taking excessive practice tests, they can quickly lose interest and motivation. This is a recipe for trouble, as students need to sustain their test prep throughout their testing timeline in order to reach their goal scores. This is where introducing some new and fun study activities can be extremely useful. If you are looking to spice up your studying routine, try these activities to help sharpen your test-taking mindset.
Crack Open a Copy of Where’s Waldo?
Waldo is hidden among the morass of a Roman coliseum. There are red-and-white striped blankets draped everywhere. Characters like “Wenda” (Waldo’s girlfriend) are dressed nearly identically to him. It can be overwhelming, but also surprisingly similar to the SAT’s Reading section, which is a mess of words and graphs cascading into one another.
Certain multiple-choice options are phrased to appear to be almost exactly correct—except for a single word or two that that makes them wrong. To excel, students need to learn to tune out the extraneous information and focus in on reference words that will steer them towards the answer they are looking for. Much like Waldo, the Reading Test is a puzzle book that is best solved by sharpening your ability to pay close attention to small details.
Watch a Few Episodes of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
This game show offers more than fun trivia facts – it provides insight into how to successfully answer tricky multiple-choice questions. You’ll notice that successful contestants use each possible answer as a tool, weighing its individual likelihood instead of just trying to get the correct answer on the first guess. Learning to mentally talk through problems will help improve your efficiency and accuracy.
Additionally, the concept of “lifelines” is a great one to bring into SAT preparation: “50:50,” in particular, demonstrates the usefulness of being able to increase your odds of selecting the correct answer by eliminating even just one or two incorrect responses. (Remember, there’s no penalty for wrong guesses—don’t leave any bubbles blank!)
Kick Back with Video Games or Apps
Games like Brain Age: Concentration Training for the Nintendo 3DS and apps like Elevate are great supplements to SAT preparation. These games can help you prep for the “No Calculator” portion of the SAT’s Math section by giving you opportunities to drill your arithmetic. Additionally, these games can boost your work on the Reading section by having you choose between commonly confused words or find the best fit for filling in a sentence. This kind of “brain-training” is fantastic for improving memory, concentration, and the ability to perform under the pressure of a timed environment—all crucial skills for boosting SAT scores.
Ultimately, the most effective way to improve your SAT score is through proper test preparation. But supplemental test prep doesn’t have to be boring or just drilling different problems day-in and day-out. By utilizing games and other creative strategies to liven up your test prep, you’re exercising your brain while also allowing it to recharge and take a break from more intensive test prep.
Want to learn more about where you should be in the test prep process and how to get ahead? Download our free Academics and Test Prep Checklist!