SAT Blues? Not a ‘Good Test-Taker’? Meet Khan Academy

Khan Academy test taker SAT

Did you recently get your SAT score? For some of you, it may have been the first time you ever took the SAT. You’re preparing to find out if you’re a “good test taker.” We can argue later about whether or not that’s a fair representation of what the SAT measures. Now, though, let’s talk about what you can do if you didn’t nail the SAT

First, you can always consider researching more colleges that are “test optional” or “test flexible.” These schools don’t require you to submit SAT scores. There are over 900 colleges in the U.S. that do not require the SAT to complete your application for admission.

Next, you can consider taking the ACT. In many parts of the country it’s more popular than the SAT. It’s also a different type of test. Some do better on the SAT, some on the ACT, and for some there’s no difference. But you don’t know which category describes you until you try.

Boosting Your SAT

If, however, the colleges that excite you most still require scores and you’re not happy with yours, there is one thing in particular you can do to try to boost your SAT scores. It’s free and you can do it from the comfort of your own sofa. It’s called Khan Academy. If you haven’t heard of it, then you probably haven’t read anything that College Board (the company that creates and administers the SAT) has sent you.

College Board and Khan Academy are partners. While there are other companies that also offer SAT prep, they generally charge an arm and a leg. Also, doesn’t it make more sense to use the company that actually partners with the College Board anyway?

Not an Ad

It may sound like I’m some kind of paid promoter for Khan Academy. I promise I’m not and neither is Smart College Visit. I will admit that about ten years ago I met Sal Khan (the owner/founder) after he delivered the keynote speech at a conference I attended. He was impressive. And I’m not easily impressed at these conferences. His was different.

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It’s been a decade since that conference and he’s still impressing me with how the company has grown. It continues to adapt to the current landscape of online educational tools.

The website is super user-friendly. As of this writing, these are the steps to take to get to the test prep part of the website:

  • Go to
  • Click on “Courses” near the upper left-hand side of the screen.
  • You’ll see ALL the courses they offer, but you’ll want to look for the “Test Prep” header
  • Scroll down to “SAT”
  • Click on “Start Practicing”

Once there, you can click on “Start Practicing.” Easy peasy. If you don’t already have an account, create one. It will track your progress and help you understand what topics are your weakest and need the most work. Need help with a particular topic? No problem. Khan Academy offers short tutorials on a myriad of very short videos using down-to-earth language and easy-to-follow examples. It even offers free access to 8 full-length SAT tests.

Self Starting Is Key

Here’s the catch: You have to have a little motivation and self-discipline. I say that like it’s an easy thing, but trust me, I get it. I have a tween. Khan Academy also happens to offer great practice for hundreds of educational topics including Algebra. When I suggest said tween spend some time on the Khan Academy tutorials for, hypothetically, multiplying quadratic equations, I stand witness to inaction that would be the envy of the most stubborn mules.

For some, the accountability of paying for a test-prep program where you have to show up in person may be more beneficial. BUT if you can possibly muster up the motivation to make yourself sit down and use Khan Academy, you’ll be saving tons of money. Additionally, you’ll be getting the only test-prep endorsed by the actual makers of the SAT.

P.S. If there are any parents reading this article and you should happen to have forgotten exactly how to multiply quadratic equations and you also happen to have a tween with Algebra homework due tomorrow, trust me, you can also check out Khan Academy as well for a real-quick refresher that you will wish you had back in your own 7th grade!

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