Studying for the SAT is an overwhelming task for students as well as their parents. We see many students fall into the same panic mode after taking the SAT for the first time and not receiving the SAT score they expected in return. Students spend months in a school-assigned SAT prep course or spend an entire summer studying from over sized practice test books just to receive an average SAT score. Getting that first, initial SAT score is discouraging for most students. They’ve taken the time to study and now, with a not-so-great SAT score in hand, students and parents are not sure where to find the time to study even harder before the next opportunity to take the test. Parents are busy trying to help more than one child through school assignments and after school activities. They do not have the time to sit down and effectively work with just one child, night after night, ensuring that he or she receive their very best SAT score possible. Students expect to ace the test their very first time; they have moved on to bigger and better things and are focusing on their classes, after school clubs or sports, and time with their friends. No one is eager to continue studying for a test they thought they would do well on the very first time.
Herein lies a common question about the SAT. Students often ask, “How do I cram for the SAT?” or “How do I study for the SAT at the end of the month?” By the time a student receives their first SAT score and finds that their score is unsatisfactory, there is usually very little time to study for the next available test date.
SAT Preparation Group has a few suggestions for students attempting to cram for the SAT:
1) Don’t. Students usually want to retake the SAT as soon as possible in an attempt to not forget what information he or she has already studied. Truth be told, going from one test to the next is hardly ever worth the time it takes to wake up and sit through a five hour day just to take a test. For a Sophomore or Junior that doesn’t need to cram, do yourself a favor and slow down. Take more time to study, not less.
2) Take the magic 8. If you are a Senior and anticipate that you may need to increase your SAT score – try to take your first Senior attempt at the very start of the school year (i.e. the October SAT test date). This will give most students time to study and retake the test before college admissions deadlines. Seniors who are looking to guarantee an SAT score increase (whether you’re attempting to increase your score from your initial PSAT or do better than the SAT you took your Junior year) should consider utilizing a one-on-one SAT Prep Coach. We have eight week programs specific to Seniors who need to cram. Our SAT courses can be taught in-home or online. Contact us here for a free, no-obligation consultation.
The Last Minute SAT Study Plan
You’re a student that has already taken the SAT. You know what you are getting into and either you don’t have time to study or you just want to get the SAT over with ASAP. Either way, this is your last minute, less-than-one-month left study plan for the SAT.
With less than one month left to study, your aim is strictly to improve your SAT score and you’re attitude should be nothing short of willing to do whatever it takes.
Consider these steps to help you prepare for your next SAT:
1) How did you do the last time? Check your SAT Online Score Report to recall just how you did on your last SAT. If you have taken the SAT more than once, how have you improved each time? Did you improve at all? Consider the individual testing areas and not just the SAT score as a whole. Do your best to break down what YOU consider your strengths and weaknesses. Go over your missed questions and consider, in your own opinion, was the question hard, medium, or easy? Categorize missed questions in these three different areas to begin building a last minute SAT study plan.
2) Focus! Now that you have your previous SAT scores together and have considered your missed SAT questions, we need to consider what skills you need to make it to the next level. Are most of your missed questions in Reading, Math, or Writing? Which area do you want to improve the most? How well did you do in that area (did you score a 200 or an 800 in that section alone)?
If you scored above a 500 in the area you want to improve, you will need to focus primarily on lowering test anxiety and practicing your medium-to-hard questions. If you scored below a 500 in this section, you’ll need to dedicate 2-3 hours per day to taking practice tests, full length simulated SAT tests, focusing on your hard/medium questions throughout most of your study time and medium/easy questions 3-5x a week.
3) Study every day. If you have a month or less to study and you are trying to cram for the SAT, you’ll need to be prepared to study every afternoon of every day NO MATTER WHAT. Switch up the way that you study. If you find yourself taking a break to browse social media on your way to or from school, visit SAT Preparation Group on Facebook or Google+ to answer our daily vocabulary test question and our weekly SAT prep question. Are you curious to see how you might have improved since you last took the SAT, download a free SAT Practice Test here. Utilize CollegeBoard.com for the official SAT Question of the Day and additional SAT practice tests. Download the SAT Question of the Day app from College Board to practice your SAT questions on the go. Make studying for the SAT part of your every day life. However, do not rely only on practicing a few SAT questions per day. Make sure to take the time 3x per week to take a full length SAT practice test to see how you have improved and re-evaluate what questions are hard, medium, and easy for you.
4) Make the SAT Practice Test your best friend. You have four weeks or less to improve your SAT score. You should be taking multiple SAT practice tests each week to reduce test anxiety and see how you have improved in your understanding of SAT questions. Between each practice test you should be focusing on the question type/SAT section that is hardest for you. While studying for the SAT online can be convenient and seem easy, you need to take the time to take full length practice tests with a pencil and paper. Time yourself without having a direct view of how much time you have left for each SAT section. Simulate a real SAT as best you can. While this may seem to be silly to most students, simulating a real SAT will help students become increasingly more comfortable with the SAT as a test and an SAT testing environment. A student’s SAT score can fluctuate on average by 200 points due to test anxiety. Ensure your ability to increase your score by practicing good sleep habits, eating well to increase your energy and brain activity, and simulating a real test to increase confidence within a real testing environment.
Have additional questions on how to conquer the SAT in less than one month? Send us your questions here.
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.