Getting ready to take the SAT can seem like a daunting task, but understanding the basics of SAT test preparation can help you focus your efforts and maximize your score on test day. This guide covers the necessary strategies for tackling each section of the SAT, how to prepare for the test, understanding how to manage your time, and available resources and tools to get you ready.
What Are the Basics of SAT Test Preparation?
The SAT is a college admissions test developed to measure college readiness. It covers a variety of topics, including math, reading, writing, and language, and an optional essay. It is divided into two sections: the Math section and the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section. Other important basics include understanding your timeline, plus the costs and materials you will need.
It is important to create a study plan that works for you. This should include setting aside time each day to review the material and practice test questions. Additionally, it is important to take practice tests to get a feel for the format and timing of the exam. This will help you to identify areas of strength and weakness, so you can focus your study efforts accordingly.
Strategies for Improving Your SAT Score
The key to doing well on the SAT is having a strategy in place. Start by setting realistic goals and tracking your progress towards achieving them. Once you have your goals set, focus on taking practice tests regularly that cover all of the material found on the exam. This will help you become familiar with the types of questions on each section and hone in on your strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, draw attention to problem areas where you may need extra help.
It is also important to create a study plan that works for you. This could include studying with a group, using online resources, or working with a tutor. Additionally, make sure to take breaks throughout your studying to give your brain a rest. Finally, make sure to get plenty of sleep the night before the exam to ensure that you are well-rested and ready to do your best.
Understanding the Sections of the SAT Test
The Math section of the SAT test is comprised of 59 questions over 80 minutes and is designed to measure how well you can use math to solve problems. Topics of the math section include algebra, problem-solving, data analysis, and more. The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section is comprised of 44 multiple-choice questions and 35 minutes and is designed to measure literacy and writing skills. The Reading subsection will test comprehension by asking questions about topics such as sentence structure, vocabulary, rhetorical techniques, and more. The Writing subsection will test grammar and language skills by assessing sentence construction and keyword usage.
Tips for Answering Multiple-Choice Questions
Start by reading through all answer choices before making your selection. Doing this allows you to get an idea of which option best fits the question being asked. After reading through all answer options, separate out any obviously wrong or impossible selection so you can focus on those that provide possible solutions. If you are still stuck, narrow down your selection to two possible choices, then select the answer that offers the most complete explanation.
Strategies for Answering Math Questions
When tackling math questions on the SAT, it helps to approach each problem systematically. Start by reviewing the relevant formulas and equations needed to solve the problem and then gather any necessary data provided in the question. Pay attention to units of measurement and make sure they are consistent while solving each problem. Structure your work in a way that allows you to easily double-check each step along the way. It is also important to read all answer choices carefully before selecting the best option.
Strategies for Answering Reading Comprehension Questions
Reading comprehension questions can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for. One helpful strategy is to take notes or write down keywords or phrases as you go through a passage. This will help you keep track of what information is relevant and give you a better chance at success when answering comprehension questions. Additionally, try to read for a higher level of understanding by pinpointing explicit information and making connections between the information presented within the passage.
Tips for Answering Writing and Language Questions
Writing and language questions on the SAT require careful attention to detail in order to be successful. When tackling these questions, read through each sentence carefully before attempting to answer. Identify both correct and incorrect elements used in each sentence. Additionally, look for errors in grammar, syntax, logic, and sentence structure that could lead to incorrect answers. Focus on how each sentence could be improved in terms of meaning and flow, always keeping an eye out for errors in usage or construction.
Preparing for the Essay Portion of the SAT Test
The optional essay portion of the SAT is highly recommended as it is scored separately from the rest of the test. The essay asks students to evaluate a given argument based on evidence, reasoning, and skillful writing techniques. To prepare for this essay portion, practice writing responses to prompts that are similar to those used on the essay portion of the SAT. Additionally, read sample essays that have been redacted according to SAT scoring standards so you can gain an understanding of what is needed in order to get a higher score.
Maximizing Your Time During the Test
Time management is an essential part of doing well on the SAT. Make sure you leave some extra time at the end of each section to review any questions you may have left unanswered or forgotten. Additionally, take breaks throughout the day as needed so your mind can remain sharp on long test days. On average, aim to spend about one minute per question in order to have enough time for review.
Managing Test Anxiety
The pressures of taking tests can be overwhelming but there are ways to manage anxiety when taking standardized tests such as the SAT. To best prepare yourself for test day, find ways to relax such as deep breathing, visualization techniques, and yoga or stretching exercises. It can help to start studying early so there isn’t too much pressure come test day itself. Lastly, practice taking practice tests under timed conditions to gain familiarity with how much time should be spent on each question.
Resources to Utilize During Test Preparation
There are numerous resources available that can help you prepare for test day. Official study guides released by College Board are a great way to learn more about what material will be covered on the exam. Additionally, online courses such as Khan Academy’s SAT prep program can provide more comprehensive support with studying material being tested on the exam. In-person tutors can also provide guidance for increasing the critical thinking skills necessary for tackling exam questions effectively.
Working With a Tutor or Online Course
Working with an experienced tutor or an online course can be extremely beneficial as it can provide personalized instruction targeted specifically to your needs. Tutors can create targeted lesson plans based on individual student strengths and weaknesses while also providing practice tests and feedback for further improvement. Online courses can offer similar advantages to video lectures, drills, practice tests, study plans, and more.
How to Prepare a Personalized Study Plan
A personalized study plan is key when preparing for the SAT, so it helps to create one that fits your schedule and outlines your goals. Establish a timeline with specific goals you would like to achieve before test day. Break up big tasks into smaller objectives that can be accomplished daily or every few days. Keeping track of your progress will be important─keep a log or diary outlining your achievements and what needs to be worked on.