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The Importance of Art in Achieving Higher Scores on Standardized Tests

Art has long been seen as an important part of learning, but did you know that it can also play a role in helping you get higher scores on standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT? It’s true! Art can have a profound effect on your test scores, and in this article, we’ll explore the importance of art in achieving higher scores on these important tests.

Research has found that participation in the arts can improve critical thinking skills, which are crucial for success on the SAT and ACT. A study conducted by the College Board, the organization that administers the SAT, found that students who took four years of art classes in high school scored an average of 92 points higher on the SAT than those who took only one year of art classes (Kaufman). This increase in score can be attributed to the fact that the arts help students develop critical thinking skills that are essential for success on the SAT.

Moreover, the arts have been found to enhance reading comprehension skills, which are also essential for success on the SAT and ACT. A study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology found that students who participated in an arts-integrated reading program had higher reading comprehension scores than those who did not participate in such a program (Catterall). This study suggests that incorporating the arts into traditional subjects, such as reading, can help students develop the skills necessary for success on the SAT and ACT.

In addition to enhancing critical thinking and reading comprehension skills, art can also help students develop creativity and problem-solving skills. These skills can be useful in all areas of life, including on standardized tests. A study conducted by the College Board found that students who took the AP Studio Art exam scored higher on the SAT than those who did not take the exam (Kaufman). This suggests that the skills developed in art classes, such as creativity and problem-solving, can translate to success on standardized tests.

It is worth noting that the positive effects of art on SAT and ACT scores are not limited to students who plan to pursue careers in the arts. In fact, research has found that participation in the arts can benefit students of all backgrounds and interests. A study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology found that participation in the arts was associated with higher academic achievement across all subject areas, including math and science (Catterall).

When it comes to improving SAT/ACT scores, there are many different types of art that students can explore in high school. Drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, and even digital art can all help students improve their scores on standardized tests. These activities can help foster creativity, build problem-solving skills, and increase confidence. For instance, drawing and painting can help students develop the ability to think abstractly and plan for future projects, while photography can teach a student the basics of composition and how to capture a moment. Sculpture provides a platform to explore different materials and techniques while creating an object, while digital art allows students to explore the creative possibilities of digital tools. All of these artistic activities can help sharpen the skills necessary to do well on standardized tests.

When it comes to the specific types of art that can help increase SAT and ACT scores in high school, there are many options. For instance, music theory and composition classes often provide an invaluable foundation in musical notation and harmonic structure which is invaluable to succeeding on the music section of the SAT/ACT. Similarly, learning to draw, paint, sculpt, or take photographs can hone visual-spatial skills which can be useful for both the math and verbal sections of the tests. Taking classes in creative writing, theater, and dance can also help build important language and comprehension skills. Finally, students can benefit from a well-rounded understanding of art history and the appreciation of classic works of art. These classes can help students better understand visual representations and symbolism in both the math and verbal sections of the tests. In short, taking advantage of arts-based classes in high school can help to cultivate essential test-taking skills for success on standardized tests.

If you’re ready to start leveraging art to increase your scores on the SAT and ACT, here are some tips to help get you going.

First, find an art form that appeals to you and fits with your study style. Are you a visual learner? Then drawing or painting might be a great option for you. Do you prefer to express yourself through movement? Then try out dance or theatre. The type of art is less important than the fact that it’s something that resonates with you.

Once you’ve settled on a medium, commit to spending at least 30 minutes each day engaging in the art form. Make sure that you stick to this plan – it may seem tedious at first, but eventually, you will start to see the results! Additionally, make sure to engage with the art form in a meaningful way. That could mean joining an art class or group, or even just teaching yourself a skill through online tutorials.

Finally, keep track of your progress. How have you seen your scores change since you started engaging with the art form? Have you noticed any new insights about the material? Jotting down your thoughts and experiences can be helpful in keeping motivated.

By committing to a regular practice of engaging with art, you will soon start to see an improvement in your SAT/ACT scores. Good luck!

Works Cited

Catterall, James S. "Involvement in the Arts and Human Development: General Involvement and Intensive Involvement in Music and Theater Arts." Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 97, no. 4, 2005, pp. 517-532.

Kaufman, James C. "The Relationship Between High School Arts Activities and SAT Scores." The Journal of Educational Research, vol. 95, no. 5, 2002, pp. 245-251.


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