A good SAT score can help ease the college admissions process and qualify you for college scholarships! So how can you kick off your SAT test prep? These free SAT test prep tips will help you get the best scores possible!
1. Commit to a study schedule. To make sure you get the SAT test date and testing center you want, register early, at least 2-3 months before the exam. That way you can create a study schedule, working backwards from the test date. Be realistic with yourself. How much time can you commit each week to SAT practice questions? Work in 2-3 hour blocks maximum. It’s better to study 20-30 minutes a day than 4 hours once a week.
2. Identify your weaknesses early on. Are you a slow reader? Is your SAT Math knowledge so-so? Grammar got you down? Know going in to your SAT test prep what areas need more work and plan to address them first. You’ll need more time for the weaknesses. Don’t put off studying for a section just because you dread it!
3. Get enough sleep and exercise. All test-taking is a mental exercise. Try to focus on your progress in your SAT test prep, and don’t dwell on your incorrect choices. You will need to sleep and exercise to keep your brain functioning optimally. Take care of your body and mind, and think positively!
4. Work on pacing. The SAT is comprised of ten sections which alternate Writing, Reading, and Math. These sections have different challenges regarding pacing, with different numbers of questions and different time limits. You will need to develop a pacing strategy for each section so that you are as comfortable completing the 25-min sections as you are completing the final 10-minute Writing section.
5. Learn the directions early. Don’t waste valuable time on your SAT test day reading and re-reading instructions. Each question-type has its own set of directions. Familiarize yourself with them now.
6. Visit SAT.org. This is the official website, and yet it’s amazing how many students take the SAT without ever having visited it! This should be your first stop in your SAT test prep journey. There are official guides and free practice questions right at your fingertips.
7. Use reliable practice material. Start studying with the SAT Official Guide and the material on sat.org. Books from reputable companies such as Kaplan or Princeton Review are excellent supplemental materials. Look for books with a lot of practice tests. For online studying, look at comprehensive study sites such as Grockit.com that have material that is based on the Official Guide and old released tests.
8. If you finish early, check your work. Even if you are a fast test-taker naturally, make sure to use the entire given time. If you finish a section early, go back and review the questions, slowly “re-taking” them and checking for simple mistakes.
9. Try to think like the test-makers. Try to develop an understanding of what the test-makers “prefer” in terms of the answer choices. For example, after studying the SAT Writing sections for some time you’ll notice how overall the SAT test-makers prefer less wordiness and economy of language. This kind of understanding will help you make better “educated guesses” on harder problems.
10. Build your content knowledge. The SAT tests a finite number of vocabulary words, grammatical concepts, and Math formulas. You will need to figure out what you already know, and what you need to work on. The questions may change, but the tested content is always the same.