Summer Reading and SAT Scores

Summer reading often is not on the top of a student’s to-do list. Usually, over the break students use their time to hang out with their friends, enjoy the weather, and do activities outside. Kids don’t want to “waste” their time reading. (Of course, there are students who enjoy reading for

fun, but this blog post is not intended to convince those who already enjoy reading to read). To those students who groan at the very sight of a book during summer vacation, this blog post is for you. “Why should I read over the summer?” you ask yourself and every adult within earshot. If contemplating reading a dusty, ancient, library book seems like a chore, then you should listen up.

Reading fluency is essential for those high SAT scores that you want. During the summer months, when you will primarily read buzz feed articles and personality quizzes, play video games, and go outside to swim, hike, or play sports, you are not wasting your time.

Relaxation is absolutely important to one’s happiness, and you should continue to do that. But you should also make some time for reading, because the few hours you spend a week on a book, either for fun or for school, will increase your SAT/ACT verbal scores tremendously.

It’s pretty obvious that reading over the summer will have this effect. If you spend some time on reading a book, your ability in understanding the reading passages on the tests will increase. You may learn new words naturally, and recognize them on the exam more easily. You will be able to comprehend passages faster and more clearly. You will have practiced patience for reading through a dense text with a lot of information. You will naturally go back and search for answers in the text, and will remember where to find the answers more readily. With more experience with reading, the easier it becomes, and the more you will enjoy the experience and the faster you will get. If you enjoy it more, you will be less nervous when test day comes around, and you’ll score higher because you will not make as many mistakes.

Blog Post by Rachel S. Stuart a Tutor and Featured Blogger for Academic Advantage Tutoring

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About Rachel

I have always been a proud “nerd.” When I could, I always helped my friends with their homework because I just loved to teach them how to think about the world differently. In particular, history and writing have always been my specialties. When I was a little girl, my aspiration was to one day be a history professor! I hope to begin Master’s classes in the field of education and continue to be fascinated by changing technology in the classroom and different ways of engaging my students’ creativity!
Honors and awards: Phi Beta Kappa, Highest Honors in History Honors Program at Emory, Recipient of
the Theodore H. Jack Award, Phi Alpha Theta, Pi Sigma Alpha, Dean’s List at Emory.

Are You Ready for the Redesigned SAT?

The SAT as we know it is changing and the redesigned version will be introduced to the public in the spring of 2016. College bound students and especially current 10th grade students should pay special attention to how the changes will affect them. The College Board is working hard to keep students and families informed and has a comprehensive website detailing the changes at

In the meantime current 10th graders (and parents) here are a few things you will want to consider:

    • The redesigned SAT is an achievement test and is more closely aligned to what you are learning in the classroom.
    • You will be the first to take the redesigned PSAT/NMSQT as juniors in October. Your performance on this test may qualify you for scholarship and other recognition opportunities. It’s important to take advantage of the summer months and early fall to practice and prepare for the redesigned test. The College Board will release a practice PSAT sometime later this month.
    • There are some key changes to the redesigned test and the list can be found on the website but two of our favorites: no penalties for wrong answers and you will now see relevant vocabulary words!
    • While the writing section is optional we suggest you opt to take it, as it should give colleges a more comprehensive view of your ability. Remember every college has different requirements so do your research.
    • Most counselors suggest students take both college admissions tests in the spring of their junior year and this will be especially important during 2015-2016. Students should attempt both the SAT and the ACT if possible to determine which is a better fit.
    • Remember that most colleges will accept either test but again, check the admission requirements for each school you are considering. Concordance information (ACT comparison) will be available in 2016.
    • Stay tuned for the SAT Guide for Students and Parents which is scheduled to be released in June 2015 for a comprehensive overview of the redesigned test.