5 Great SAT Prep Hacks to Succeed on Test Day

'Tis the season for the SAT, which means it's time to prep! Here are some study tricks and easy ways to prepare to take the test and get the scores you want.

This blog was originally posted on Brainly.com.

When it comes to SAT prep, your process determines your success. There are plenty of ways to steel yourself for test day, so it’s up to you to find the approach that will leave you feeling relaxed, confident, and ready to conquer. If you’ve come here to find a quick fix, you can stop reading now. The truth is, good preparation for anything takes focus, dedication, and time. But with these five tips, we hope to help you set a path toward achieving your highest potential score without wasting tons of time to get there.

1. Build your stamina

Sitting through a four-hour exam is no easy feat, regardless of its content. The good news is that concentration is like a muscle; it gets tired with overuse, but you can train it to withstand more. Repetitive and familiar practice will ready your mind for the mental marathon that lies ahead. You can start by undergoing a few practice tests. You’ll get a feel for the SAT’s content and its pacing and time commitment. Take these simulations in the same way you’d take the real SAT, giving yourself the allotted time for each section and for each break in between.

2. Target your studying

After a few practice tests, you should start to identify which parts of the test need the most work. Get efficient with your SAT prep by prioritizing training to focus on your weaker areas. Nail down the test sections with the most room for growth, target your efforts, and watch yourself take off! You’ll improve faster and more profoundly by workshopping these sections rather than taking entire practice tests week after week.

Related: How to Work on Your Academic Weaknesses in High School

3. Set your goals

Setting target SAT scores is your one-way ticket to motivation city. Having a concrete mission with a specific objective is crucial to persevering when the going gets tough. Your goal should be achievable but ambitious enough to challenge you. Don’t freak out if you end up falling short; any improvement is worth the effort. To get an idea of where you stand with the Math, Reading, and Writing & Language sections, take some practice tests until you have a rough picture of your performance. For the optional Essay section, share some of your written submissions with an expert, like an English teacher, tutor, parent, or mentor. Once you have your baseline, consider how much you’ll realistically be able to improve before the test. A 100-point improvement goal is a solid start, especially if it puts you within range of your schools' target scores.

4. Master your fundamentals

Grammar isn’t everyone’s favorite study topic, but knowing the rules can have a significant impact on your reading and writing skills. Grammar studies are even more important if you elect to take the Essay section. Ask your English teacher, a tutor, or a parent to look at a recent essay of yours, focusing specifically on grammar and syntax. Are some of your verbs conjugated incorrectly? Do you consistently make a “your/you’re” error or struggle with “there/their/they’re?” Does your writing have comma splices or one of many other common grammar mistakes?

With the SAT Math section, 58 questions in 80 minutes leaves little room for missteps. Fortunately, there are lots of resources that map out commonly used math formulas and skills. Start with the 11 geometric formulas given to you as a reference on the test. Practice working with these formulas to get a sense of each one’s utility. Your calculator is your friend, but remember to think critically about the answers it gives you. Understanding the basics will help conceptualize what those answers should be!

5. Find SAT prep that works

Tutors and teachers know the SAT, and they offer a variety of prep classes for every student’s needs. It’s crucial to find the process that works best for you. Some students enjoy having group classes where they can improve alongside their friends and classmates. Others prefer one-on-one instruction to meet their specialized needs. SAT tutors and services are viable prep options, but piling these on can get expensive. Look for free online and local resources designed to help ready you for test day.

Related: Fun SAT Vocab Prep With the Dictionary of Difficult Words

If you’re starting to think about getting your act together for the SAT this year, use these tried-and-true tactics to give yourself an early and lasting boost. Remember, these “hacks” aren’t meant to be implemented all at once. The right preparation happens one step at a time. Give yourself time to reflect and experiment with which of these tactics work best for you.

Read the full article on Brainly, and find more study hacks in our Test Prep section.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress


High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has provided me with tips that were for college students, but as a high school junior, they were still very useful. Not only that, it also gave me an idea of what to expect when it comes to going to college or already being in college. I want to say thank you to CollegeXpress, and I hope you continue the wonderful tips until I hopefully get into college and throughout my college journey.

Damian Rangel

Damian Rangel

September 2021 Mini Scholarship Winner, High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me tackle college expenses, which will allow me to put more of my time and effort into my studies without the need of worrying as much about finances.

Hannah Nelsen

Hannah Nelsen

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me look at colleges that fit my interests by taking my profile and matching it to colleges that have the programs I'm looking for. It has the ability to connect me to colleges so I can be contacted by them and look at them more in-depth to find what's right for me. Additionally, the scholarship database is super beneficial for getting scholarships for college. Not only does it help lift the financial burden of college but it shows all the opportunities available. Overall, CollegeXpress has been very helpful to me.

Amari Toussaint

Amari Toussaint

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress helped me narrow my school choices down from 10 schools to four and then two. It also gave me information on a school I had never heard about or thought about attending until now, which is the school I will be attending in the fall. I am thankful for CollegeXpress and its helpful tools.

Sierra Carranza

Sierra Carranza

High School Class of 2022

I had absolutely no idea where I wanted to go to school; I was considering colleges in almost every state. CollegeXpress was an amazing resource and helped me compare all of my top schools. Without the help of CollegeXpress, I probably wouldn't have made such an informed and confident decision.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA

High Point University

High Point, NC

Eckerd College

St. Petersburg, FL