SAT Prep for the SAT Reasoning Test: There is no secret to preparing for the SAT Reasoning Test. There are two major areas a student should address in their prep:
- Practice, practice, practice
- Finding their weaknesses and improving their skills in those areas.
- Test instructions
- Test format
- Test question types
- Test question content
- Timing your progress through the test
The more familiar you are with the test, the less time you will have to spend navigating and understanding the test, and the more time you will be able to devote to actually answering questions on the test. Practicing, by taking practice SAT tests, is the best means of preparing for the SAT Reasoning Test. Doing this will, however, requires dedication, focus, and perseverance on your part.
Why Prepare for the SAT Reasoning Test?
Your SAT scores have the potential to significantly help or hurt your chances of getting into the college or university of your choice. The more competitive the college or university, the more important are your SAT scores, as well as your grades, high school transcripts, extracurricular activities, recommendations, written essays.
Create an SAT Test Prep Plan
The best way to start preparing for the SAT Reasoning Test is to develop an SAT Prep plan. You should specifically map out what it is you want to accomplish and your timeline for completion of specific milestones.
Set Specific Goals
When creating an SAT Prep plan, it is important to set specific and measurable goals. Setting general goals such as "take a bunch of practice exams" does not help you because there is no way to measure your progress. You need to set specific goals with target dates for completion. For example, you should set goals such as:
- When to take the PSAT/NMSQT (sophomore year, junior year, both).
- How many practice tests you will take and when you will complete them.
- What sections will need extra focus and how and when you will accomplish studying for them.
- Whether or not you are going to take an SAT prep course and when you will take it.
- You may even want to set goals for how well you improve answering questions on the practice exams you take.
Write It Down
Do not trust your plan to memory. Write it down. Write down tasks and target completions dates. Leave room on the plan for "checking off" or measuring completion of tasks.
It is very important for you to measure your progress against your plan. If you are not making enough progress perhaps your plan was too aggressive and needs to be modified. If you are making progress faster than anticipated then your plan may not be aggressive enough. You should consider enlisting a third party, such as a parent or a friend, to review your progress against the plan. Having someone else measure your progress may help to provide extra incentive.
Take the PSAT/NMSQT
While not as long and rigorous as the SAT Reasoning Test, the PSAT/NMSQT is a good beginning to your test prep. It will help you to become familiar with the test in an actual test setting. Your score may help to give you some insight into where you need to provide extra focus for your SAT prep activities. In addition, you have to take the PSAT/NMSQT if you want the opportunity to compete for a National Merit Scholarship.
Consider SAT Prep Courses and SAT Tutors
Preparing for the SAT Reasoning Test requires focus, dedication, and perseverance It is easy to get distracted or simply not be able to make the time to prepare as you should. Taking an SAT Prep course or hiring an SAT tutor are good ways of forcing yourself to make the time and actually study. With either of these options, there will already be a test prep plan, the content and outline of the course. There is also a third party, the course instructor, to evaluate your progress and keep you on task.
SAT Prep for the SAT Subject Tests
Preparing for the SAT Subject Tests is different. These tests are much more focused on the type of material that should have been covered in the classes that you have taken. Your prep for the SAT Subject Tests should be much more focused on review of classroom material similar to the way that you would get ready for a final exam. You should also consider taking an SAT Subject Test as close to the completion of your high school class or classes on the topic.