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Anthony James Green PhotoStudents hoping to get top scores often hurt their chances by focusing on the wrong material.Anthony-James Green

The SAT is one of the most high-stakes standardized tests high-school students can take. A high score can bolster the chances of securing a seat at a top college.

However, students hoping to get top scores often hurt their chances by focusing on the wrong material, Anthony-James Green, a $1,500-an-hour SAT and ACT tutor, told Business Insider.

"Obsessing over your weakest points is way more important than looking at what you're good at," Green said. "There's a tendency among everyone to continue [studying] what you enjoy and what you like."

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Green, who says his students improve 310 to 320 points on average on the new SAT, explained that you should actually spend very little time on the concepts you already understand. "On these tests if you're pretty comfortable with reading and grammar and you hate math, then you should be spending 95% of your time on math," he said.

In addition, Green believes one of the best strategies to ensure you perform well on the SAT or ACT is beginning preparation much earlier than most students likely realize.

He suggests students start studying their freshman year of high school, but to limit it to 20 minutes a day. This helps to make studying a habit that is stress free, and helps to take some of the high-stakes feeling out of the exam.

"Your brain learns through constant, consistent repetition," he said.