The SAT is a rite of passage, a gateway between what has been, and what will be. No matter what path you tread through your education, you will always find yourself face-to-face with the SAT before you enter into college. Instead of considering it as an inevitability, see it as a challenge that you will face with confidence and certainty. Like any test, the need to study and familiarize yourself with the content is paramount.
You don’t want to study for the SAT a month, or a week in advance. This isn’t your history quiz, this is the key to your future higher education options, so it needs dedicated time to prepare for it. Start considering your preparation options at least six months prior to taking the test. That doesn’t mean you need to study every night for six hours for the next six months, it means that we’re going to show you how to study for the SAT and make the most of your time.
Methods to Use When Studying For the SAT
There are an incredible amount of SAT preparation classes, books, articles, and tips. A lot of them are useful, but equally large amount are just looking to charge an arm and a leg for something you could get elsewhere.
You’ll need to decide how you want to study, be it by yourself, or by taking a preparation course. A little of both, honestly, is probably the best choice, but don’t get roped into a SAT prep course that isn’t for you.
Before we move on to actual SAT prep classes, let’s talk about ways you can study by yourself, and prepare for the test. Here are ten crucial tips that will get you well on your way to success:
1. Utilize Practice Tests
Just like playing a sport or a musical instrument, the best way to learn is to get your hands on it. Every few weeks, find a free practice test online and set aside time to take it. Keep track of your progress and see how you’re improving with each attempt.
kThis will also build mental strength to sit through the several hours that the test takes to finish. Knowing how to keep yourself mentally and physically focused and stable is an equally important skill, as you don’t want to get burned out during the test.
Doing these practice tests will also grant you time to familiarize yourself with the test. You will get a feel for each section, and start to understand the overall architecture of the exam.
2. Stop, Drop, and Read!
The SAT reading comprehension questions are going to do their best to put you to sleep with banal subject matter, but you can’t let boring article excerpts get you down. To prepare for this, find and read online articles on subjects you don’t know a single thing about.
When you finish reading them, try to write down some key points from the article, or identify the argument of the piece. In this way, you’re training yourself to become familiar with comprehension and understanding of any and all subject matter you come across.
3. Understand the Flow of the Test
With the critical reading section excluded, the way the SAT is structured is by placing the questions in ordering of ascending difficulty. Questions at the start of each section are easier than ones toward the end. Focus on answering the earlier questions fast and efficiently, so you have extra time to focus on the more difficult quandaries that await you at the end of the section. For the critical reading portion, there is an equally viable strategy to these questions.
Answer the specific questions that reference a line or quote from the passage first. This will leave more broad questions on the topic of the passage for last. The former questions will take more time, since you’ll need to locate and identify the line the question is referring to. The latter questions should be easily answered based on your recollection of the passage.
4. Study Vocabulary Words
This aspect of studying is heavily dependent on when you plan to take the test. As of the year 2016, the College Board has announced that they will be restructuring the vocabulary of the exam to better suit words that students will commonly use in college and in their careers. Considering this, if you’re taking the test in a few years, start brushing up on broad terms that are commonly used.
If you’re taking the test next summer, consider taking a preparation course that can provide you with commonly used words on the test and target specific definitions you should be familiar with. Creating flashcards or portable studying cards will give you the chance to integrate the vocabulary words into your everyday life. Make it a routine, a second nature habit, and you’ll have the words down before you know it.
5. Write Practice Essays Until Your Hand Cramps
The concept of outlining, writing, and editing an essay in less than half an hour is probably a scary thought to most people. It’s certainly not easy, but it can be practiced and honed into a machine-like efficiency. You can expect to see broad topics on the exam, so keep this in mind as you practice yourself. As you practice writing the essays, break down the three segments into specific chunks of time and train yourself to spend only, say two minutes outlining, twenty minutes writing, and three minutes editing.
Find a structure that works for you, and make it happen over and over again while timing yourself. When constructing your thesis, make it clear and concise. As tempting as it is to throw down some sort of symbolic and profound truth, in this case, it’s better to stick to something that can’t be misinterpreted. Remember, the essay doesn’t have to be perfect, the people grading it will be looking for a clear argument, structure, and a solid understanding of the English language.
6. Become One With Your Calculator
If you’re like me, the math portion of the SAT is the most frightening part of the exam. Even given the chaotic order that is mathematics, you have a weapon that can keep you from making those pesky errors that we humans tend to make. On the SAT, your calculator needs to be part of your arm, possibly even attached to your hand. Prior to the test, become extremely familiar with your scientific calculator. Look for shortcuts that automatically convert decimals to fractions for example, and other options like that.
7. Learn the Secrets of Multiple Choice
Besides the essays, and a few pesky math questions, the SAT is multiple choice. While you may be fist pumping right now in triumph, hold your applause for the end. While multiple choice is nice, it doesn’t make things easy. What it does do is bring certain advantages that you can seize during your preparation and during the test. For example, the section on identifying sentence errors will give away its secrets when you examine the choices and find out exactly what the question is testing for.
If you see a question that completely and totally sends your head reeling, just skip it! I know you’re scratching your head, but hear me out on this one. You are not penalized for blank answers. You gain points when you get a correct answer, and you lose points when you get one wrong. Leaving a question blank doesn’t help you or hurt you. Of course, skipping the question should be a last resort.
When doing your practice tests, try skipping the ones that totally stump you and answer ones where you can eliminate at least one of the answers. The most important thing is not to waste time on a question. If you’ve narrowed it down, then guess based on your best instincts. The last thing you want is to run out of time.
Let the SAT Preparation Group Help!
While individual studying and tactics like the ones above can make for a great test taking experience, an extra push in the right direction can raise your score to new heights. There’s no limit to how many times you can take the SAT, so maybe you can do the first time solo, and let the SAT Preparation Group show you how much higher your score can go.
Whichever route you decide to take, know that the elite premium coaches and the flexible online or in-home courses offered by the SAT Preparation Group are always available, with proven results and individualized courses that meet the needs of each and every student. With an average score increase of 341.9 points, your college and scholarship options could be exponentially raised just by taking a single course with the SAT Preparation group.
Free consultations are offered in-home or online, in addition to a free diagnostic test. Your future, and your options for higher education are all yours to control. With proper training and studying, anyone can ace the SAT and attend the college of their dreams.
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.