The Number One Way to Improve Test Scores

How reading more is proven to be beneficial in school testing environments

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There are lots of ways to improve test scores; talking to teachers, looking over class materials for longer periods of time, or even organizing study groups. However, according to AP English teacher Danielle Peck, there is an overlooked method to raise test performance in all types of classes, which is to simply read more.

   Peck said the number one way to do better on AP exams is to read not only the school assigned books, but also to read outside of class.

   “Reading is so important,” Peck said. “You need to read more because that’s the only way you’re going to be a better reader and writer.”

   A study done by the American Library Association (ALA) surveyed fourth graders, and found that students who said they read for pleasure scored higher on the reading assessment, whereas students who said they rarely ever read for pleasure scored lower on the same test.

​   “We always need to read,” Catharine Fennessey ’17 said. “You need to be able to read effectively and read for information.”

   Fennessey, who is vice-president of Book Club, said reading more can improve reading speed. She said it helps in testing environments not only for English assessments, but also in classes such as science or history.


“Reading is so important. You need to read more because that’s the only way you’re going to be a better reader and writer.””

— English teacher Danielle Peck

  “If you’re doing something like the SAT it’s much easier if you can read something quickly and get through it and get the information,” Fennessey said.

 ​Reading often has the potential to open up a student to many different abilities. Research by the British Council at TeachingEnglish showed that students who read have more general knowledge, better vocabulary, and improved writing.

Trinity McClinton ’20 is an avid reader who  thinks her love of reading has definitely helped her academically.

   “It’s important because kids are able to find deeper meanings and hidden truths in books,” McClinton said. “I think that’s good.”

      According to Peck, English classes also benefit students in high school and in overall life. Peck said communication is one important skill learned in English that will help students no matter what job they go into.

    “You need to be able to speak clearly and effectively and convincingly to

Elizabeth Flower
A high school junior’s SAT and ACT prep books lay scattered across the floor with a reading book on top, symbolizing the importance of how reading can positively affect test grades. ​Photo by Elizabeth Flower

other people, whether that other person is your employer or your spouse,” Peck said. “And English classes can help you do that.”

​     McClinton said one way reading helps her with testing is through the vocabulary she learns. When she sees a word in a book she doesn’t understand, she looks it up. Therefore, when she sees the same word on tests, she knows what it means because she had previously searched it.

     “I think it’s cool,” McClinton said. “I get it (the word) when it’s on the test, because I had looked it up.”

​     Peck said the “essential human experience” of reading makes it, along with the academic benefits, worth the while. According to her, books are the most effective way to develop empathy and understanding for other people.

  “In the world, when you read a book, you get to live somebody else’s life,” Peck said.”You get to think somebody else’s thoughts.” ​

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