Competing for a Better SAT and ACT Score

Of the roughly 551,000 high school basketball players in the 2017-2018 school year, about .1% of them will end up being drafted into the NBA.¹  Of the roughly 2,000,000 high school students who took the ACT in 2017, similarly, about .1% of them achieved a perfect score.²

Why make this comparison?  Because students and parents can sometimes get frustrated by how difficult it is to substantially improve on the SAT and ACT.  When compared to professional sports, however, it’s easier to understand.  Let’s say a high school student is an average basketball player.  How hard do you think they would have to work and how much time practicing do you think it would take for them to neonbrand 6mRaiW6DDCM unsplash scaled Summit Prepbecome better than 94% of all other high school basketball players?  Although it will vary from student to student based on their aptitude for basketball and the quality of their coaching, in almost all circumstances we could say it’s going to take a lot of work to get better than a further 44% of high school basketball players.  To almost double their competitive edge, they might need to spend 500 hours to go from the 50th percentile to the 94th percentile of high school basketball players.  And, remember, it gets harder and harder to keep getting better than those other top players, because those other top players are practicing a lot too to get better than their elite peers.  Additionally, there is less “low hanging fruit” on which to improve: for the average basketball player, they might be able to significantly improve just by increasing their running endurance and practicing their jump shots.  For the top players, it’s going to take much more skill and targeted practice to gain a competitive edge.

The same is true for the SAT and ACT.  A student starting with a 20 on the ACT is starting at the 50th percentile of all students who take zbynek burival yeDrlueWth4 unsplash scaled Summit Prepthe ACT.³  So, how much work will it take to similarly improve into the 94th percentile (equivalent to a 30 on the ACT)?  For the average student, it would probably take 500 hours as well.  Again, the higher a student scores, the harder it is to improve: all of the other top students are also competing to out-compete one another and the “low hanging fruit” (in this case going over topics like exponents and independent clauses) have already been mastered.

Does it take 500 hours of prep for our students to go from a 20 to a 30?  No.  But, our students are also getting the best possible SAT and ACT prep from us.  Still, there are no easy shortcuts.  To out-compete others, particularly the most advanced students who are trying to do the same, requires a lot of hard-work, patience, and perseverance.

But, like any endeavor, the success of the outcome will be proportionate to the effort put into it.  You can choose your SAT and ACT score, as long as you also choose to work as hard as is necessary to achieve it.

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Works Cited:



Margie B.
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I can’t thank david for all his hard work and getting my son the score he was aiming for!! Summit prep is an unbelievable place to get your kids ready for their college prep Act and SAT courses!!! Thanks again for making this year end with a bang!!
Thomas S.
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The entire experience from start to finish was excellent. The process was clearly outlined and understood. Scheduling was a breeze and our teacher come not have been more flexible.
Georgia B.
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Eva was wonderful. With her help I was able to get into my top school and receive and scholarship. I loved her help and spending time studying.
Jeanine L.
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We were lucky enough to be referred to David at Summit Prep! My son enjoyed working with David as he felt that he really helped him prepare for the ACT. He explained concepts covered on the test as well as the test itself. My son felt confident taking the test and did so well that he only had to take it once!
Ben H.
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David helped me improve my SAT from a 1480 to a 1570 over the course of about 2 months. Each session made me feel more and more confident.
Jill B.
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Eva took on an almost impossible task and seriously worked a miracle! We found out we were moving, and our son had to take the ISEE exam asap. From his practice test to the exam, his scores went up exponentially. We give her 5 enthusiastic stars!
Rachel F.
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My twins have had a wonderful experience with Summit Prep preparing for the ACT. David is extremely knowledgeable and connects individually in a very relatable and helpful manner for each student. I highly recommend Summit Prep!
Janice B.
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All three of my children have used Summit Prep for their test prep and, I believe, reached their full potential as a result of the outstanding guidance of David and Ryan. His ongoing support went above and beyond. Many thanks!
Kwesi A.
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My son just got accepted into MIddlebury!! He could not have gotten a better tutor than Eva!!! She is the best!
Arlene S.
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Summit Prep are professional, enthusiastic, encouraging and most importantly successful in helping our son achieve his goals. We would strongly recommend using David and his team and want to convey our thanks for all of their help!

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