The Best Way to Prepare for SAT

LifehacksStudy tips
May 24, 2019

You’re at that point in your life where you’re thinking about college. Aside from visiting universities, improving your grade point average, and writing an impressive college admission essay , the SAT plays a vital role in your application process, and it’s important that you know its purpose. With your future at stake, you’re on the lookout on the best way to prepare for SAT. To begin, SAT is one of the two standardized college admissions tests existing in the U.S., the other one being ACT. The SAT was originally from an Army IQ test, and was administered for the first time as a college admissions test in 1926. Its popularity didn’t really catch on until 1933, however, when Harvard started to use it to assess scholarship applicants. The president of Harvard viewed SAT as a tool of measurement for intellect. This perspective increased SAT’s reputation and by 1940, it became a standard test for every college applicant. Just as how you get ready for a test, you must prepare for SATS. You’re always on your toes as you figure out the best way to prepare for a test, and sat prep isn’t any different. This post discusses tips for the SAT, the best ways to study for SAT, making your own prep for SAT, and everything else you need to know.  

How long does it take to prepare for SAT?

The pressure is real, and your mind races over thoughts of how to pass the SAT. As you begin your preparation for SAT exams, you are probably wondering how long you need to study – will it take only weeks, or months? How many hours do you need a day? 

There are plenty of factors that come into play, such as your personal goals and the exact date of the SAT exam. There is a rough estimate that students swear by, but considering its subjective nature, it isn’t perfect. Remember that each student varies in terms of development, study habits, and strategies. Some only need light reviews, while others need a full-on SAT exam preparation. 

So, when to start preparing for SAT? Ideally, you have at least six months before the test, and this is the best time to start. As discussed, not everyone will fit into this category, and the preparation for the SAT exam largely depends on the student. Perhaps you do not need the entire six months studying, and two months will be more than enough. Consider your target score, and then determine how you wish to study – make a study plan based on your time limits and studying style.

How can I prepare for SAT at home?

How to prepare for sat exam at home? Most students prefer studying for SAT in study centers, with tutors and guides them in preparation for sat test. Not everyone can afford this, however, as study centers can be pricey. As an alternative, you’re probably wondering how to prepare for SAT exam at home. The good news is that it’s perfectly possible, and here are gathered tips for SATs, guaranteed to help you study in the comfort of your own home without the need to pay a large sum of money. 

  • Decide when you wish to take the actual test.  Experts recommend taking the SAT for the first time during fall of your junior year, but you have the liberty of choosing whether to take it earlier or later. Of course, all of these depend on your schedule and level of SAT preparation. As with the saying “ the early bird catches the worm,you can increase your SAT score if you take it as early as you can. Should the results come and you find yourself not liking them, there are more potential test dates available for you, and plenty of chances to get a feel of the test better. If you’re looking for the best sat testing tips, this is it. Taking it earlier means also less pressure, and less pressure means less stress. Accomplishing the SAT with good results will help you fill out your college applications easier in the future.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice!  The SAT plays a vital role in your future, so you must set aside some time to take a practice test. To make things more authentic, use a timer to get accustomed to the time limits. This will also help you pace yourself according to the SAT time limit, making sure that you have more than enough time to get through all the questions. After finishing each test, devote ample time to check and review your answers, and focus on those questions you got wrong. Remember to use your past tests as guide, too – you have likely already taken your PSAT exam during the your sophomore and junior years. As you prep for SATS, make use of your PSAT results to estimate your target score and create a study plan – this will become your best sat study guide, as it will be made according to your study habits and goals. 
  • Make a study schedule.  Your study schedule should be based on your goal score, along with how much time left you have before your test. It is ideal that you spend a consistent time studying each week, up until you take the test. Doing this will keep you moving – your mind will always be at the ready as you make progress steadily. Your study schedule will work even better if you decide to set aside specific and scheduled time blocks ahead of time. Perhaps it could be one hour after 7 PM every day, or three hours of your Saturday morning. By setting a consistent study time, you study and SAT prep will turn into a habit, making it easier!
  • Review the most relevant content.  As soon as you’ve identified your goals and fixed your schedule, begin reviewing content. One of the best ways to study for SAT is to target the areas you’re already weak at, but at the same time, not neglecting everything else. It should still be a well-rounded approach. Set aside time to learn material you don’t know yet, and review what you already do. If you find yourself struggling with Math, then spend more time on it. Don’t forget to prepare for the reading section, too, even if it’s your best subject. Using this strategy will ensure that you will be ready for every section of the SAT. 
  • Read a ton of nonfiction outside of class.  It is known that SAT is heavy on reading. Expect to be reading long and dense passages one after another over the course of an hour. The questions provided after aren’t always difficult, and most of them are actually quite straightforward. The reading part is the difficult aspect of it, as it will sap your brain of energy sometime during the examination. The best way to prepare for this is simply to read tons of nonfiction as you prepare for sat test. Picking up a magazine and the newspaper, such as Time, The New Yorker, and The New York Times are the best choices for this. Remember that the part of your brain responsible for reading won’t develop overnight, so this is an area best given a jump start. Hit the books and magazines as early as now.
  • Don’t cram! As with any test preparation, or anything important in general, cramming is always a bad idea. As you go through cramming, you will feel like you retain so much information, but a week after all of that will be banished because you forced your brain to it, instead of doing it methodically. That is the negative effect of cramming.  Liken it to building a skyscraper using a deck of cards. Instead of doing this, remember to stick to the study schedule plan – if you’re wondering how to prepare for the sat, then this is it. Review what you’ve learned for the past week, and make sure you re-expose yourself to information you already know in order to retain it. It’s also best to lessen your time of review a day to under three hours – this will cause for diminishing returns. Remember to take a break in between studying to let all the information be absorbed by your brain.

If you’re still wondering how to practice for SAT or prepare for SAT, check out the video below: 

Can you study for the SAT and ACT at the same time?

The college admissions process is anxiety-inducing, and the mere thought of taking both of the standardized tests is enough to overwhelm anyone. You are not expected to take both the SAT and ACT to get into college, but based on current trends, it’s recommended now to take both tests – provided that it will work well on you. 

To answer the question, yes, it’s possible to study for the SAT and ACT at the same time. Your ACT preparation almost mirrors you preparing for SATS – the English and Writing & Language section of the exams are identical. Both tests have substantially the same grammar and writing rules, along with math concepts and problem solving skills. You will undergo through passages to assess your reading skills on both tests. More importantly, both the SAT and ACT require the ability to manage time, stress, and energy. 

However, these exams do have their specific differences, which you can focus on through targeted reviews and practice testing. Believe it or not, prepping for one will also prepare you for the other, to a certain extent. Golden tip: take both tests in June.

What to do before taking SAT

You’ve spent months preparing, studying, hoping to pass SAT math (and pass SAT, in general), and pondering over SAT tips. The big day comes tomorrow, so you’re wondering: how do I prepare now? And lingering still in the back of your mind – should things fail - how to prepare for the new SAT? Don’t get ahead of yourself. As tomorrow approaches, keep these tips for SAT in mind.

  • Take a study break.  It’s a night before testing, and no one should be studying, not even you. Studying a day or a night before the SAT can be bad for you – professional athletes refer to this as tapering . After months of preparing for the competition, these athletes take a day off or two to give their bodies time to rest and recover. Your brain functions the same way. Cramming will only cause fatigue to your brain, which will guarantee poor performance. Skip the study session.
  • Look for the test center beforehand.  Save yourself the added stress on test day, and look for the test center in advance. Most students are lucky enough to take their exams at their own high schools, but some are assigned to other schools. If you’re one of them, visit the school ahead of time and assess the parking situation. Do make sure that you won’t be needing to stop by the gas station in the morning. These two tips will prevent you from arriving late on test day – chances are you will be denied admission for being late.
  • Prepare all your materials.  Organize your test materials in advance the night before. This could be your IDs, testing permits, pens, pencils, and everything you can possible need for the exam. It’s best to prepare them the night before to avoid running around all stressed in the morning.
  • Get a good night's rest.  Experts say that you must go to bed early the night before the test. The entire SAT experience is five long hours, and no amount of preparing for sat will result to anything good if you don’t get enough rest. Skip all your commitments, like a school dance, party, or Netflix movie marathon – those are nothing compared to being accepted at the college of your dreams!
  • Believe in yourself.  As cliché as this one may sound, confidence can go a long way. As you sit there waiting for the test to start, visualize yourself writing the best essay and answering all the math, reading, and writing multiple choice questions perfectly. 

As you begin your journey to acing the SAT, remember that your performance will be a result of your own expectations. As you keep searching for ways how to prepare for SAT, remember that your success will depend entirely on you.

Writing help for students

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