Originally Posted: May 1, 2018
Last Updated: May 9, 2018
SAT season is in full swing! Although studying for the SAT is considered one the most difficult and stressful tasks, with dedication and the right mindset, anything is possible. Here are some tips on how to really prepare for the SAT in order to get the best score possible.
1. Get motivated
Studying for the SAT correctly is all about having the right mindset. If you start your studying with a negative and lazy attitude, it will be difficult to get started and stay dedicated. Instead, get excited! The SAT is the start of the college process, which is an extremely tumultuous and exhilarating time in a high school student’s life. After taking the SAT, one of the most stressful parts of the process is finished; then you can focus on other, more exciting things such as college visits.
It’s also important to remember the SAT is basically a nationwide competition—the “winners” of this competition have the best chances of getting into great colleges and receiving scholarships. By thinking of the SAT as a ticket to your dream school or a great scholarship (rather than just a big, scary test students are forced to take), you can motivate yourself to put in 100% of your time and effort into successfully preparing for the SAT.
2. Set a score goal and make a study schedule
Setting a score goal ties into getting motivated; if you have a specific score you’re looking to achieve, you can judge the time frame needed to prepare for this score. Researching different schools and their average SAT scores can help you set a score goal if you’re having trouble figuring out a realistic one.
As many students already know, the SAT is an extremely demanding thing to prepare for. You really need to show dedication and time management to reach your goals. Setting up a schedule that dictates what days and how many hours you will dedicate to studying can help you become more organized and achieve your goal score. The amount of time you dedicate to studying depends on your own preferences and how much time there is until your scheduled test date, but it is important to stay consistent with your studying. If you plan on studying for two hours after school and a couple more hours on the weekend, you should keep up with that schedule the entire time you prepare for the SAT. If you make studying into a habit, you will definitely see a score improvement!
3. Utilize test prep books, courses, or other resources
Everyone has different study habits, skills, and strengths. In order to successfully prepare for the SAT, you must discover your strengths, weaknesses, and your preferred study methods and resources. There are many SAT prep books available for studying, including the Official SAT Study Guide from the College Board. These resources are very helpful for individual self-prep and practice tests. Another way to study is taking prep courses: there are online self-paced courses, private tutors, and many different prep classes taught at schools or private businesses. Your success depends on what kind of studier you are; some courses are more demanding and strict than others. In order to pick a course, do some research! Ask friends who have gotten high scores what they used to study or look online. There are many resources available concerning test prep, so find what works for you.
Related: 3 Awesome FREE SAT Prep Resources
4. Learn test strategies
In order to prepare for the SAT, you must learn different strategies on how to approach questions during the test. There are four major sections on the SAT: Reading, Writing and Language, Math (Calculator and No Calculator), and an optional Essay section. Each section has a certain style of asking questions and a time limit to answer those questions. To really succeed during the test, you need to learn the best strategies on managing time, eliminating answers, and guessing, as well as section-specific tips and tricks. Math rules, punctuation, word choice, and the ability to correctly use a calculator are certain skills (among many more) that are tested during the SAT. The fact that you are tested on so much information may seem overwhelming, but you are in luck; prep courses and prep books, as well as the internet, offer many different strategies and tips that can help you practice and teach you how to answer questions on the SAT.
5. Practice, practice, practice
Like everything in life, prepping for the SAT is what you make of it. When it comes down to it, you and only you can dedicate the necessary time to studying and practicing. This may sound like your mom lecturing you, but by sticking to your study schedule and practicing enough, you will truly get what you put into it.
By following these rules, you can become more prepared for the process of studying for the SAT. With hard work and dedication, achieving a great score is possible! Good luck to everyone taking it in the near future. Remember: you got this!