The Top 6 Ways to Prepare for the SAT
Showing up at your SAT test day fully prepared is the best way to ensure you will get the high score you are aiming for. And to avoid the pre- and actual test-day jitters and really do well in all areas of the test, you have to start reviewing and preparing for this big day months before your scheduled exam.
The length of your preparation, though, is only one key factor that will affect your SAT test performance. The methods and strategies you employ for reviewing and preparing for this important exam are just as important.
Below are six of the most highly recommended and effective ways of preparing for the SAT:
1. Join an SAT review program
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SAT prep classes are specially designed to help you achieve your goals of preparing well for the test and getting a high score.
When you sign up for such courses, you will undergo an assessment first. The results will enable the tutor to find out which areas you need to improve and need the most help with. You will then get a personalized SAT review course that targets your weaknesses. This program will also touch on the other areas to help you get higher marks come test day.
In addition to getting a customized SAT prep program, you will also benefit from getting quick and full explanations from the tutor whenever you are having a hard time understanding a particular concept or mathematical formula. Your tutor will also share helpful tips and advice to help you utilize everything you have learned during the actual exam.
Lastly, at an SAT review class, you will get lots of review materials and take several mock exams which are both essential to getting a high score on the test.
2. Create a feasible study plan and follow it
Aside from attending your SAT review classes, you also need to study at home and do some other prep work. To stay organized and focused during the times you will study alone, make a study plan.
To come up with a good study plan, count backward from your preferred or scheduled test day to see how many weeks you have left. Next, create a list of the materials you will review. Set your goals for studying these materials and check how many hours you need each week or day to understand or go over them.
However, when creating your study plan, consider your learning pace. Avoid cramming in too many materials or studying too long in a day. If you do, you will overwork your brain and you may mix information up, which won’t help you come test day.
3. Study the test and content
When preparing for the SAT, it is important that you study two things: the test and content.
During your SAT prep classes, the tutor will give you details about the actual exam. Make sure you understand the test structure, instructions, and the types of questions you will be encountering. By doing so, you won’t have to spend time understanding them on test day. You can, then, devote these minutes to answering the more difficult questions.
Aside from knowing what to expect during the test day, you need to have some knowledge of the exam content. This means reviewing and familiarizing yourself with grammar rules, and developing active reading skills, including the use of context clues. You will also need to go over and polish some of your basic math skills and understand the concept of formulas which will be needed on the test.
4. Make practice tests count
Put everything you learn from your review classes and self-study efforts into good use by taking lots of practice tests. By doing so, you will get a feel of the test, the format, and pacing.
Whether you will be taking mock exams in your review class or online, remember to take it slow on the first tests. Take as much time as you need to fully understand what each question is really all about. Additionally, spend as much time as you require in choosing or coming up with the right answer to each question.
Once you have taken a few practice tests and have an overview of the exam format and content, start taking them in a way that simulates the actual testing conditions. This means following the time limits and taking the entire test at once.
By doing so, you will have an idea of how you will perform under the actual time constraints. And this will help you smartly manage your time for each section of the test.
After completing these tests, take note of your score and the errors you made and keep making or repeating. Make sure you find out what the correct answers are and think about why you made these mistakes.
Whether the reason behind the mistakes is that you misunderstood, rushed in answering the question, or simply don’t know the answer, classify your mistakes and learn from them. Make it your goal to do better in your next practice tests.
5. Do additional research and self-study especially during downtime
When you find yourself not doing anything and you have already completed your goals for the day or week of prepping for the SAT, make better use of your time by doing some research about the SAT.
Start by looking for apps and websites that will give you daily practice questions, answer hints and explanations to help you learn from your mistakes. Start reading non-fiction books or articles as well to increase your vocabulary and for you to be better prepared for the reading section.
In addition, research test-taking strategies that will help you make the most of the allocated time during the SAT itself. Although your tutor will teach you certain methods such as skim reading and using the process of elimination, you won’t go wrong with looking for more tried-and-tested techniques.
6. Make it fun
Lastly, preparing for the SAT doesn’t mean you have to be serious all the time; you can still have fun while studying.
There are hundreds of SAT prep videos on YouTube that are not only informative but fun to watch, too.
To boost your vocabulary, play word board games with your family or friends. Boggle, Scrabble, and Upwords are great in stimulating your brain and building your vocabulary. You can also download them as apps or play them online so that you can access them when you’re not doing anything.
Prepping for the SAT will also be more enjoyable if you study with your friends or classmates. Join or form study groups with them so that everyone can share tips, strategies, and information so that everyone will also have better chances of acing the test.
Keep in mind that your confidence during test day will stem from all the prep work you’ve done, and will affect your performance.
With adequate preparation, you will avoid a lot of stress before and during the SAT test day. More importantly, you will have better chances of getting a high score, one that will truly reflect your capabilities and potentials.
Maloy Burman is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Premier Genie FZ LLC. He is responsible for driving Premier Genie into a leadership position in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education space in Asia, Middle East and Africa and building a solid brand value. Premier Genie is currently running 5 centers in Dubai and 5 centers in India with a goal to multiply that over the next 5 years.