Are you taking the SAT® and wondering how you can get an edge in your prep? If so, here are 10 strategies to help you in your preparation for the SAT®.
Tip 1 – Take real tests
The best way to prep is to familiarize yourself with the test and the best way to do that is to take authentic tests. Take practice tests that are released by the College Board itself. They’ve released 8 practice tests as of the publication of this blog and they can be conveniently found at supertutortv.com/resources.
Tip 2 – Go elsewhere for strategy
Though real tests are the best materials to help you learn the exam, they won’t necessarily give you everything you need to in terms of cracking the test. Get your advice from somewhere other than the College Board (like Brooke!) so you tackle the exam with a different approach. Talk to a tutor, watch our videos, or get yourself a prep guide.
Tip 3 – Prep for 6-10 weeks
Treat the SAT® like you would any other test. You would always study for a midterm or final for your class, wouldn’t you? You should do the same for the SAT®. Brooke recommends that you study for 6-10 weeks for about 48 hours per week to see results and improvement.
Tip 4 – Don’t take the test until you’re ready
One of the common mistakes students do is taking the test, without any prep, to get a baseline score and see where you stand and where you should focus on. A test for that already exists — called the PSAT. Taking the SAT® over and over can cost you some money and really frustrate you — thus hindering your ability to improve.
Tip 5 – Look at your answer choices holistically
When reading through a passage, don’t catch yourself cherry picking specific key words to match to answer choices. Instead hone in on the big idea, like the author’s message or purpose, when going through the passage. For more on this tip, you can read this blog on our top three reading strategies.
Tip 6 – Stop Guessing
One of the most common mistakes students do on exams is, once they get frustrated when trying to look for an answer, they begin to settle and guess. You have to fight for the right answer and have that mentality that you aren’t going risk any points guessing. Go back to the passage as much as you can because chances are you need to look for more evidence to come to a correct answer. The SAT® is an open book exam, unlike regular tests in school, so make the most of that advantage. Compare the answer choices and look for red flags, such as extremities and oddities. Only guess when you run out of time, not when you run out of ways to find the answer.
Tip 7 – Anticipate the answer before you look down
One thing to avoid when taking these exams is anchoring: the idea that if you read something first you’d be more biased towards it. This can happen when you read your answer choices, not knowing the answer to a question upon reading it, and going for choice A because you read the choices in order. You need to make your brain work harder by not giving it any hints or biases and coming to a conclusion by your own interpretation of the text before reading the answer choices.
Tip 8 – Drill down areas you don’t know (Math)
When it comes to areas where you need more help (particularly in math or grammar) you need to iron new concepts in your mind by drilling and taking on a number of practice questions. We here at SupertutorTV have you covered with our online SAT® Course, The Best SAT® Prep Course Ever, and resource page that have all you need when it comes to prep and materials. Khan Academy is also another good source as they have teamed up with the College Board on giving accessible test prep for the SAT®.
Tip 9 – Be a math detective
Taking a look at the answer choices will give you clues as to what you have to do. Also, be sure to know your equations (exponential growth, linear, quadratic etc.). You can find out what formulas you need know for the SAT® in this blog.
Tip 10 – Pack Right
Bring your calculator, pencils, and everything else we mentioned in this video. Pack in advance and good luck on your exam!