College PrepSATSAT Reading

How To Get an 800 on SAT® Reading

Having a goal for a perfect 800 for the SAT Reading and Writing Score is reasonable if you are looking to get into an Ivy League school that expects a total score above 1550. You may also be reaching for an 800 on the Reading and Writing score if your Math scores are weak. Colleges and universities will likely look at your total score before your sectioned performances. To make an exceptional impression for top schools, you will want the highest composite score possible, so perfecting one section may be something you are aiming for. 

If you apply to a major like English, communications, or political sciences, then a higher Reading and Writing score will set you aside from other applicants. Note that the more competitive a school is, the more high-scoring applicants you will be up against. 

You will need to answer 51 to 52 of the 52 questions on the Reading test correctly, to get a perfect score. This score will be combined with your results from the Writing test. 

Here are some strategies to get a perfect Reading score:  

1. Understand your weaknesses

The first step to improve your scores is to evaluate the questions you miss on a practice test. This is crucial for creating an effective study plan. When aiming for perfection, you need to focus on the questions you repeatedly miss and the questions you frequently have to guess on. If you answer questions correctly based on a lucky guess, it is crucial to understand why that answer is correct. You want to be confident in each answer, and the best way to do this is by understanding the areas where your performance is weak. It is also important to find out if time management is harming your score. 

2. Eliminate answers effectively

Another important strategy is to practice eliminating answer choices. As discussed above, the questions you must guess on can hold you back from a perfect score. A good way to minimize the guesswork is to eliminate three options from the answer choices. Only one of the choices is 100% correct. If you are stuck between two choices, go back into the passage and find the one that is supported by concrete evidence in the text. You can also practice eliminating options in your practice tests by finding reasons to cross out answers instead of reasons to select one correct one.

3. Make predictions 

Another good strategy for perfecting your Reading score is to make predictions about your answers before reading the answer choices. This is effective because it eliminates your susceptibility to being swayed by wrong answers. The Reading section is designed to confuse you, and this strategy is a good way to avoid the confusion.

4. Find a reading strategy that works for you 

Some students find success in reading the questions, then reading the passage, then answering the questions. Others perform the best by skimming the passage, then reading and answering the questions. You may find that reading the questions and marking their specified lines in the passage is the best reading strategy for you. You can read more about reading strategies here. 

5. Improve your weaknesses

After you have pinpointed the weak performance areas, it is important to practice acing them. Practicing the question types that you consistently falter with and finding time management techniques that help you are crucial steps to perfecting your score. You can read more about effective time management techniques here. You can also take advantage of UWorld’s performance tracking tools to improve your performance in precise areas. Check out our detailed explanations for questions, and deepen your understanding of the mistakes made through our SAT Prep Course

6. Pay attention to the introductions 

A brief italicized text often introduces the passages. If you are struggling with main idea questions or general contexts in the passage, these introductions can provide excellent background information to help you improve. Read the italicized introduction before you read the passage.

7. Engage with the subject matter 

Some passages can be incredibly dense, which is harmful to your reading comprehension. If you are not engaged with the subject matter, active reading is much more difficult. Practice being engaged with the subject matter to understand the passage no matter how boring or dense it is.  

8. Check your work

This step comes down to your time management skills. Practice finishing the Reading test with spare time to go back and check your work. This step can be crucial for questions you are not certain of. As you go, mark questions that you are not 100% sure of. This makes going back to check your work more efficient. Taking a second look at these questions can be the difference between a perfect and imperfect score.

As you prepare for the Reading test, try these strategies! You can test their effectiveness using UWorld’s SAT Prep course, where we have thousands of practice questions, detailed explanations, and performance tracking tools to streamline your studies and perfect your scores!