GASTON COUNTY, N.C. -- Gaston County students taking the SAT are out-scoring almost everyone else in the nation who are taking the college admission exam.

According to last year's scores released by College Board, the SAT's administrator, Gaston County students' average score jumped 15-points year-to-year while North Carolina's average score only went up by seven points and the nation's average dropped by six points.

Highland School of Technology was one of the county's leaders as its scores rose by 36-points.

Principal Denise McLean credits the offering of SAT prep courses and opportunities to take practice versions of the exam, as reasons why her school, and others throughout Gaston County, are doing well.

"Students get to see the test," McLean said. "Relieve any anxieties about it so that on test day, they can do their very best and put their best foot forward."

Highland senior LeeAnn Jones credits the school's prep course for improving her score.

"I highly recommend it because it really helped," Jones said.

Fellow senior Chandler Green said the practice exams relieved him of his initial nerves.

"I think I did pretty good," he said.