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5 Extracurricular activities to improve your ACT/SAT math score

Math book and calculator
Math book and calculator

Extracurricular activities are not simply an opportunity to fill those hours between school and home. Rather, they have been strongly correlated with higher test scores, increased motivation, and improved grades.

For instance, a 2005 College Board study indicated a strong connection between extracurricular activities and higher SAT scores. College of DuPage research concluded that students who participated in extracurricular activities had a greater likelihood of positive attitudes toward school, which then led to higher grades and motivation. The United States Department of Education determined that students who were involved in extracurricular activities are three times more likely to have GPAs of 3.0 or higher.

This is not to say that extracurricular activities are the only—or even the best—method to improve your ACT/SAT scores, but they may offer an opportunity to enliven your typical study habits. Here are five activities to augment your ACT/SAT math results:

Academic competitions
There are a number of academic competitions that students can join. Some are individual endeavors, while others are team-oriented. Certain programs will focus specifically on one subject (such as college-level math), while others span multiple topics. The United States Academic Decathlon is one example of a popular academic competition.

In chess, you are unlikely to learn specific math equations, but the game challenges you to think critically – a key skill for both the SAT and ACT. Depending on your school’s program, you may even compete against other groups. This will further provide you with opportunities to sharpen your critical thinking skills beyond the classroom.

Software development
Coding is an increasingly popular after-school activity in many states. It is also a subject that relies heavily on algebra, like the ACT and SAT do. Like chess, creating an app, game, or website also stretches your ability to think critically and to solve problems.

Math clubs
Such clubs that focus solely on math through challenges, games, and group projects can provide a spark of interest that may be lacking in your geometry class (or in your ACT/SAT review regimen). You may learn several new equations that you will face on a standardized exam, or you may become even more familiar with the existing material you have been studying.

Physics and engineering clubs
This type of extracurricular activity tends to be rare within high schools, but those that do exist prompt students to build trebuchets, rockets, and other designs. Each project relies on advanced math and physics equations – a select few may even appear on the SAT or ACT. Engineering and physics clubs require you to interact with formulas and understand them at a deeper level – not just memorize them. That is precisely how the SAT and ACT are designed. They will not determine if you can remember equations, but rather if you can truly comprehend them.

Extracurricular activities can boost your admissions resume in more ways than one! Browse the opportunities available at your school, identify your niche, and begin enhancing your skills to ultimately enhance your scores.

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