Every student that comes into tutoring has different strengths and weaknesses, and individual needs. Yet, some basic types of SAT student can be spotted. What type of SAT student are you?

You can be more than one, or move from one category to another. Keep in mind, if a label doesn’t fit, don’t contort yourself into its shape.


The Dust-Off and Strategize

Most students fall into this category. What they most need is to review their existing skills, and then strategize to maximize their studying for the SAT from then on out. The SAT has its own twists and turns, and we go over them in our free 30 day SAT email course. From the SAT Math word problems to the split passages in the reading section, there are strategies worth looking into.


The Anxious Testers

These students’ main problem is the stress the SAT causes them. This can have many side effects, such as a slower testing time or struggles focusing on the test, but the main thing is that they feel very stressed before, during, or after the SAT. They might often second guess themselves, or find themselves stuck on a question.

Anxious Testers should try to reduce their test anxiety, and keep the big picture in mind.


The Missing Math Step

These students tend to have little faith in their abilities. They think that they’re “just bad at math.” Their main problem tends to be with the content of the math test. What’s happened is that for whatever reason, struggles or perhaps a bad math class in the past, the student missed a key lesson in the past. Because most math lessons build on what a student built before, a mistake in algebra can have a ripple effect, making math much harder than it should be.

How a student counters this is to do a deep review of the topics they think they might have missed. These students benefit the most from personal tutoring. A tutor can quickly figure out what lesson was missed and teach it, along with remedial lessons for the areas of math that might’ve also been effected. With the right math tutor, their score can jump hundreds of points.


The Reading Roughers

This type of SAT student has a hard time with the reading section. They might struggle to make sense of the denser passages or find out that time is almost over when they’re only part way through the reading section. These students need to pick up a book outside of class and start reading it as soon as they can. In order to carry out the quick-yet-deep reading the SAT requires, they’ll have to build their reading speed and reading comprehension. Both of those vital skills are built by picking up an interesting book. Annotating, pre-answering, and elimination also play a key part in boosting this student’s SAT Reading score.

Many of our tips to beat the SAT’s time limit will be very helpful to this type of SAT student.


The Underestimater

The counterpart to the Anxious Tester, the Underestimater has too much confidence in their abilities. They might take a cavalier approach to the test, or find themselves with too much time left over, but their actual score leaves something to be desired. They’ll often find studying for the SAT boring and hard to focus on.

It’s worth taking the time to remind this student why they’re taking the SAT. Even the strongest students need to study. Here are some tips on how to focus when studying for the SAT.


The Perfectionist

These are the students shooting for that 1600 score. Part of what the Perfectionist is fighting is the test itself. The Perfectionist needs to keep a balanced view of the test. If they get too caught up in any individual test score, they risk becoming an Anxious Tester.

For the biggest boost, see if you’re doing all the things high-achieving students do on the SAT. If those last couple of points remain stubbornly out of your reach, consider investing in an SAT tutor. They know how to snap up those last few points.



If you see yourself in one of these types of SAT student, I hope you have a clear idea what to do next! If you want more SAT and ACT prep advice sure to join our mailing list for a free 27-item checklist and 30-day free SAT email course.

Share This