As you surely know, the Scholastic Aptitude Test is a resource that most colleges and universities use when evaluating applicants for admission. Admissions counselors consider this test score and other factors such as extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and high school GPA. Over 2.2 million high school students took the SAT in 2019; if you are preparing to take your SAT, you are not alone. Consider this advice as you get started.
- Begin studying early. You can never over-prepare for a test that may have a major influence on whether you get accepted at the school of your choice.
- Put some thought into the test date. You will want to choose a test date that best suits your schedule and gives you ample time to prepare.
- Create a model environment. When you have put some time into studying for the SAT, take full practice tests and stick to the timing you will be allowed when you take the test. This will help you budget your time on test day.
- Don’t overdo it. Although you need to put time into studying for the SATs, do not let it consume you. It is important to take some time to do the things you enjoy in life.
Individual Portions of the Exam and Examples
- The reading portion of the SAT is best prepared for by reading frequently. The more quickly you can read and comprehend information, the more time you will have available to answer the questions about the passage you read on test day.
An example from Collegeboard.org of directions you will see on the reading section may look like this:
“Each passage or pair of passages below is followed by several questions. After reading each passage or pair, choose the best answer to each question based on what is stated or implied in the passage or passages and any accompanying graphics (such as a table or graph).”
- Writing and Language. You will often be asked to revise a passage that someone else has written to correct errors in the writer’s support information, figures, or interpretation of a table. This is known as command of evidence. The other way you are tested is in words in context. This refers to your ability to understand the meanings of words in a passage and how you improve upon them in terms of tone and style.
- The math section of the SAT includes algebra, advanced math, and problem-solving and data analysis. The best way to prepare for this portion is to take practice tests. Aim for ways to improve your speed, memorize formulas, time yourself, try different approaches to answering a question and do basic calculations without a calculator.
- In essay writing, you want to use the central claim that the test provides for you and then make a clear argument for that claim. The best way to prepare is to brush up on grammar, language, and writing skills.