We know that taking a test like the SAT or ACT can be a scary time for high school students. Students are easily overwhelmed as they attempt to prepare to take the PSAT or SAT for the first time. During this time, we get a lot of questions from students about what to expect on the SAT, how to prepare for the SAT, and when to start studying for the SAT. We love the curiosity from parents and students alike. Getting your questions answered is important to us and vital to your ability to put a handle on your test anxiety. That’s why we thought we’d share with you the answers to the 5 Most Common Questions About the SAT!
How do I prepare for the SAT?
It is never too soon to start preparing for the SAT. However, we suggest you give yourself a minimum of two months to prepare.
Read every day to improve their reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. Read about something you enjoy most.
Keep a vocabulary journal. A vocabulary journal will consist of a list of SAT words you find difficult with enough space to define the word in your own terms, write a sentence using the vocabulary word, and list three synonyms for that word. Handwriting this information makes all the difference!
Work with a personal SAT coach. SAT Preparation Group has a team of elite SAT coaches available to help students with all their SAT needs. Learn more about online and in-home SAT course options here.
Check out these additional helpful resources:
- Getting Started Studying for the SAT is as easy as 1, 2, 3…
- 10 Weeks to Being SAT Ready [Infographic]
- 10 Ways to Prep for the SAT
What does my SAT score mean?
The SAT consists of three subjects: Critical Reading, Math, and Writing. Each subject has a score range of 200 as the lowest score to 800 as the highest score for a total of 2400. The average SAT score is approximately 500 for each section or a 1500 overall.
700+ On Math, Reading, and Writing Sections for a total of 2100+ on the SAT
Ivy League institutions like Yale and Princeton as well as colleges on a similar level such as Stanford, MIT, Cal Tech, and Duke typically require SAT scores in the 700s for each subjects.
600+ On Math, Reading, and Writing Sections for a total of 1800+ on the SAT
High level academic State Universities such as the University of Florida, Michigan State, North Carolina State, or California State require mid 600s for each section of SAT scores.
500+ On Math, Reading, and Writing Sections for a total of 1500+ on the SAT
Typical state colleges like Pennsylvania State, Central Florida, Ohio State, Texas State, and Colorado State require mid 500s into the 600s.
400+ On Math, Reading, and Writing Sections for a total of 1200+ on the SAT
There are plenty of colleges that take scores from the mid 400s and up.
Most colleges post their standardized test requirements on their website so you can get an idea of what it means to be in their bubble of possible scores!
To view your SAT score percentile, check your score on CollegeBoard.com. The College Board will update what percentile you are in as more students complete the SAT throughout the year.
When is the best time to take the SAT or ACT?
Assuming that all the prerequisite courses have been taken and diligent study habits are in place, the best time to begin preparing for the SAT or ACT is at the beginning of your junior year. if preparation begins in August of your junior year then you have several weeks before school starts to focus exclusively on your SAT or ACT preparation. You will then have all of your junior year to maximize your test scores. Remember, since the colleges take the best composite score once you have taken the SAT or ACT the score can only go up.
The worst time to take the SAT or ACT for the first time, in my experience, is during the spring of junior year. This is when students are the most burned out and sleep deprived, which never works well on these very difficult tests. Furthermore, this time of year is when AP and final exam preparation are at their peak – leaving students little else to focus on.
Why is the SAT so important?
Many students and their parents wonder how a five hour exam like the SAT can seem equivalent or even measurable to a high school career. Unfair as it may seem a five hour exam like the SAT or ACT is considered equivalent to 3 ½ years of high school grades. Getting your foot in the door for college is only the beginning.
The process leading up to the college admission process is a very important one. There is no substitute for solid study skills. In the real world, for example, no matter what profession one chooses, one needs to know about customers, products, marketing, communication, interviewing techniques, money, time management, goal setting, etc. Colleges and the real world entities and beyond are seeking hard working solid citizens. That is why there are so many challenging hoops to jump through to get there.
The statistics are clear. People who earn a bachelors degree earn about 50k a year to start. Those with a professional degree like lawyer, doctor, engineer, or accountant earn over 95k a year. Compare those numbers to the average high school graduate who earns just under 31k a year. The track is obvious. Better studying habits leads to better grades which leads to better SAT scores, which leads to better college options, which leads to scholarship opportunities, which leads to more jobs and money in the long run.
Contact SAT Preparation Group to help increase your SAT or ACT score and receive specific, one-on-one coaching towards your college prepardness.
What books should I study for the SAT?
We like to say that the best books to use for SAT and ACT preparation are those written by the actual test makers. The College Board puts out a book called The Official SAT Study Guide and the ACT organization provides The Real ACT Prep Guide. These organizations are the definitive experts on their own tests and therefore make their practice tests just like the real test themselves. That is why we only recommend books from the test makers.
To get more answers to frequently asked SAT questions or to ask us a question of your own, visit our FAQs page.
Start studying for the SAT today with this free practice test.
SAT Preparation Group advises in test prep, college planning, and success strategies for teens. Call Us Today at 877-672-8773 or click here for a free consultation.