Most high school students know they will have to study for the SAT or ACT at some point. They imagine what it might be like with regret or hope – displaying very little in-between emotions about what taking the SAT for the first time may feel like. Most schools will require that a student take the PSAT (Practice SAT) regardless of their intent to continue in taking the full-length SAT. However, the reason behind taking the PSAT isn’t just to practice for the SAT.
Taking tests like the PSAT will help students get a more realistic view of their test-taking future. Each student should consider standardized testing isn’t just about making the score to get into college. In addition, preparing for tests like the SAT an ACT can be a small glimpse at what studying in college will be like. That being said, students shouldn’t worry or be intimidated by how hard college may seem. Students are encouraged to take standardized tests to begin transforming their study skills at a young age and make studying for major tests far easier in the future.
As I work with students every day, I come across a lot of common questions about the SAT. One of these questions is simply:
See what this student says about studying for the SAT…
I am a sophomore and I am not too pleased with my PSAT and
practice ACT scores. I know I can do better, but I need to practice
on effective test taking strategies. I need help getting started and
finding the right kind of study material for the test. I have the test
in over 1 year, so time is not an issue. Please help!
That is a great question! Getting started can be the hard part of studying for any test. Let’s get started together with these three simple steps. If you get lost along the way, SAT Preparation Group is always here to help and answer questions for students and parents. Contact Us here if you have any questions.
Just like the day of the test, the first part of getting started is to Be Confident and Be Calm. I want you to consider the fact that you’ve already started preparing for the SAT. Do you study for your regular school tests? Have you been paying attention in your Math and English classes? How many books have you read recently? If you’ve been actively learning, you’ve already started.
By reading classic novels or browsing through our daily RSS feeds of credible news resources, we are engaging our minds. Regular reading helps us to read faster (always a good perk on long tests like the SAT) and retain more information about what it is we are reading. Comprehensive reading skills are key to all types of learning.
I want you to pat yourself on the back if you’ve been reading more lately. If you haven’t, there is no better time to start. Read something that is inspiring and interesting to you and engage in your reading by writing down unknown vocabulary words and summarizing each chapter to yourself. Get even more practice by telling someone else about what you’re reading. Try using your newfound vocabulary words in your description.
Don’t get overwhelmed. The most important factor of Step 1 is to realize that YOU ARE CAPABLE. You have been learning your whole life. You have taken a test before. You’ve tried something new and overcome your fears more times than you can count. KNOW where you are coming from before worrying about all you have to do. This is a natural step to being the adult you want to be. Treat it as such. YOU CAN DO THIS!
Get back to the basics. You already go to school every day like it’s your job so show them who’s boss! Make higher learning a part of your every day life again by making just a few, small adjustments.
Adjust your daily web surfing habits beyond just videos and images. Browse credible web articles about what it is that interests you – from interpreting your dreams to the logistics of building your very own, programmable robot. Make reading fun. The possibilities are endless.
As discussed in Step 1, active reading is key to all types of learning. If you read well, you’ll write well. Consider what writing you currently does. Even if the most writing you do on a day-to-day basis consists of text messaging and short-phrased tweets, practice proper spelling and grammar usage. Trust me on this one. You can quickly undo your minds natural grammar-check by spending too much time ignoring your mistakes. In fact, I dare you to go to the extreme and turn off auto-correct on your cell phones and personal computers. Notice how many squiggly lines you now have pointing out your common errors.
Now that you can’t prior yourself away from reading more about the things that you’re interested in and your virtual messages are grammatically correct and error-free, you should feel more composed (no pun intended) and confident about your future as an SAT taking expert.
You’re no stranger to the concept that practice makes perfect. From here on out, consider it a game. What kind of person do you want your game-character to be? Imagine yourself as an adult, proudly admitting to friends and family that you’re an Honor student at the school of your dreams. Perhaps you’re just home from study abroad. You have wild stories to tell. Who you hope to become is now your game-face. You may feel nervous, but the path is clear ahead. Even if you’ve tried it before, you’re ready to try it again. You have a new outlook on life and you know what you have to do.
Start your journey by taking a free SAT practice test. Take the test seriously. Simulate a true testing environment by printing the test, secluding yourself in a corner with nothing more than is allowed on the test (i.e. pencil, calculator) and setting a timer. Once your set amount of time is up, put your pencil down. Don’t change any answers. Submit your answers per the directions of the practice test. Within 48 hours you should receive your test results along with a complete evaluation of your test-taking skills.
Focus on the problems that bother you the most or take the most time for you to consider. Truly practice the material. The SAT isn’t about what you know; it’s about how you think. As you find yourself closer to your anticipated SAT date, consider utilizing a SAT Preparation Program or hiring a SAT Coach to help you navigate difficult questions and perfecting each of your math, reading, and writing skills into a well rounded SAT score.
For more information on utilizing practice tests and creating your own study plan, download this infographic.
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.