How to Prepare For Sat

The SAT is a standardized admission test for high school students who want to enroll in a college after graduation. The test basically establishes what you learn in high school and what you need to know to be ready for college studies. Millions of students around the world take this test every year and send in their scores with college applications.

If you are excited about getting a perfect SAT score and studying at your dream college, you need to be aware of a few things about this test. The following guide will help you understand how to prepare for the SAT.

How to Prepare for the SAT

With a carefully calculated preparation plan, you can give yourself the best chance of acing the SAT. The following steps to prepare for the SAT will help you in this regard:

Step 1: Register for the SAT

To take the test, students first have to register through the College Board website, which is the organization that administers the test. Registration can be done online, through mail and by phone. Students will be required to select a test data and center.

Tip: Try and pick a test center that is near your home, and a test date at least three months in advance.

Step 2: Take a Preliminary Practice Test

This practice test will help you determine the areas where you lack and need to work on the most. Various online testing sites offer practice tests online, that are scored automatically at the end. In addition to figuring out what areas you need to work on the most, a practice test would allow you to get comfortable with the test structure, timing and answering methods.

Tip: Before sitting down for the practice test, make sure you create an exam-like environment. Gather all the things you need, such as a pencil, calculator, watch and extra paper etc.

Step 3: Set a Score Goal

Once you know where you stand, you can set a target score for yourself based on your strengths and the amount of time you have.

Tip: A 100-point increase from your target score in one month is an achievable goal. The more you want to improve your score, the greater your time investment will be.

Step 4: Make a Study Schedule

Create a realistic study plan based on your time frame, target score and your shortcomings. Spend a consistent amount of time every day. It would be better to expand your study plans over a month or more, rather than trying to cram information in a week. Effective SAT preparation has a lot to do with forming the right habits, creating a routine and staying organized.

Tip: Try to take at least two full-length practice tests towards the end of your test prep. This will help you figure out your improvement level.

Step 5: Work on your SAT Vocabulary

Vocabulary is an important part of the SAT preparation. Instead of focusing on memorizing words and their meanings, it is better to try and understand new words in context. To do this, you are advised to read challenging articles, read nonfiction and pick out random words to define them.

Tip: To improve vocabulary in a balanced manner, you should ideally ready from different fields, such as literature, social studies and history.

Step 6: Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice resources are available online and in print form. The best way to get used to the SAT format and questions is to actually attempt them. Make the most of every minute of your time. Use your travel time to review flashcards on your phone, read a chapter of the study guide during lunch break etc.

Tip: Try and make your practice sessions enjoyable and without haste. Use helpful study tools as part of your daily routine.

Step 7: Be Ready for the Test Day

As the test day approaches, make sure you are fully prepared for it, in terms of the things you need, preparation and a fresh mind. You will need basic items such as your photo ID, an approved calculator, admission ticket, at least two No. 2 pencils and erasers and a small drink or snack for your break.

Tip: Make sure you have a balanced breakfast on the test day, and stay hydrated throughout. Also ensure that you arrive before time to avoid any hassle.

How Long Does the SAT Take?

The SAT consists of three sections: (1) Reading; (2) Writing and Language; (3) Math, along with an optional essay. The Reading section is 65 minutes long, Writing and Language takes 35 minutes, and the Math section takes 60 minutes to complete. The optional essay takes 50 minutes to complete. In total, the test is 3 hours and 50 minutes long.

Study Options for the SAT

There are several popular methods for SAT test preparation. Let’s take a look at some of these:

  • Self-preparation: Thanks to the easy availability of prep books, online resources and mobile applications, more and more students are opting for self-preparation.
  • Online Program: Make sure that the online program you invest in is reliable. Most such programs can be tailored to you needs. However, make sure you get your money’s worth.
  • Preparation Course: This is an effective way to stay on track and stick to a strict timeline. This would be specifically helpful if you have problems with motivation. On the other hand, these courses can be a little too expensive for their worth.
  • Private Tutor: This is perhaps the most focused way to prepare for the SAT. A professional personal tutor can personalize your study schedule based on your skills and score goals. A private tutor will also help keep you motivated.

What Is a Good SAT Score?

A perfect score on the SAT is 1,600. The minimum score is 400. But what is a good score, is a highly relative question. It mainly depends on the colleges you are considering applying to. A good way to go about it would be to try and get a score near or over the national average. This would open up a lot of college admissions for you. Another way to go about it would be to check the average acceptance scores at your chosen colleges and try to get a score similar to them. In both cases, however, it is important to have a benchmark score in mind.

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