Last Updated: May 1, 2014
by Jordhan Briggs
The SAT is a three hour and forty-five minute exam that tests all the skills you are learning in school like reading, writing, and math. Taking the SAT exam is one of the most essential steps in the college application process that leads to eventually attending the college of your choice. It can also be one of the most intimidating initiatives. But since it’s necessary, here are five tips on how to prepare:
1. Practice Tests, Practice Tests, Practice Tests
They say practice makes perfect, right? Whether or not you’re enrolled in a SAT prep course, nothing will prepare you for the SAT as much as actually taking the SAT! So carve out some time once a week (or at least once every two weeks) to take a practice exam. Although sitting and taking a test for nearly four hours isn’t anyone’s idea of fun, it is a great idea to prepare your mind and body to be able to sit and focus for that long.
Head to the SAT College Board online for free practice tests.
2. Write Essays
The SAT exam allows you twenty-five minutes to write an essay on an assigned topic. Although it seems unlikely - it is possible to plan, construct, and proofread an essay in this short amount of time. The essay will always be the first section of the SAT exam and the prompt will touch on issues like justice, the value of knowledge, or learning from past mistakes. Practicing your essay before your exam will ensure that on the actual test day you are comfortable with this quick style of writing.
Practice with these potential essay prompts on College Board.
3. Study Up On Your Vocabulary
One word: FLASHCARDS! Brushing up on your vocabulary will be essential to succeeding on the SAT exam. No, that doesn’t mean you need to start reading the dictionary in your free time. Check out this list that Quizlet made of College Board’s most commonly used vocabulary words to sharpen up. Becoming familiar with these words will aid you during the sentence completion and reading comprehension sections.
4. Guess Or Skip?
While you’re taking the exam you will likely run into some questions that you may find confusing and others that you plainly won’t understand at all. Instead of wasting time trying to figure it out or stressing about it – just skip it. All of the questions in the SAT exam are worth the same amount of points so spend more time answering the questions you’re absolute about. One big key to SAT success is time management!
5. Difficulty Levels – Learn The Test Structure
One of the main factors in doing well on the SAT exam is understanding the fashion in which its structured. The questions on the SAT are arranged by difficulty. Basically, the questions at the beginning of the sections are easier than the ones at the end. Therefore, spending an equal amount of time on each question doesn’t really make very much sense. By answering the questions at the beginning of each section quickly, you will allow yourself more time for the difficult questions at the end.
Original Post Date: February 4th, 2014