The SATs or the test that you hope you could score well enough to make it to the college in the US (then comes to the crippling debt, but that’s another story). A lot of emphases have been put into scoring in those tests but don’t let it stress you out too much. It’s not that difficult, although you would need to learn some good studying habits, which honestly is the most important take as you go for your tertiary education. How to prepare for SATs? Learn some useful tips to get you ready for your test.
Top 10 Practical & Essential Tips on How to Prepare For SATs
Start Preparing Now
Don’t let those subjects you need to study pile up. You have a whole year to prepare for SATs, make use of that time sparingly. You only really need to review your lessons for an hour a day, or, at least, to keep up with it, since the last thing you want is catching up with your lessons. Organize the study time and follow the SAT testing guidelines. Do a timed SATs practice every once a month, more as the test got closer and you had learned all that you need.
To put it in perspective, studying for an hour a day gives you 30 hours a month. Do you think one day and a fifth of studying a month are enough to put you at the top percentile?
Understand the Test Structure
Aside from the critical reading section, questions on the test are in ascending level of difficulty. Questions in the earlier sections are easier than the ones at the end. This means that your time distribution should not be the same for every question. Allocate less time for the easier questions and use more time to answer the more difficult ones towards the end.
Strategies for the critical reading sections involve you understanding the passage like the back of your hand. Answer the questions that specifically ask, for example, the meaning of a sentence first. Answering these detailed-oriented questions might reveal more insights into the passage, to then help you with familiarizing with the ideas and themes to help you to answer the more general, broader questions.
Improve Vocabulary Skills
No one likes memorizing vocabulary, but they are essential for getting those pesky passage-based questions right. Not only that, it will make you sound more sophisticated which make your essay and answers looks better than it should be. Moreover, you are going to need that vocabulary as you continue towards college educations.
Learning vocabulary is not that difficult, having a word of a day thing going on will give you 30 new words a month. You might never have to use those words ever, but knowing that they exist and understanding its rough definition is usually enough. Or you could just read more and learn along the way.
How to prepare for SATs in the most relaxing way? Just read more. The critical reading sections are pretty intensive with vocabulary and comprehension, reading more helps you to prepare for this. You are going to read the passages, analyze and evaluate whatever the authors try to convey while understanding the use and meaning of vocabulary used.
Critical reading skills are easy if you have a reading habit. Just include some of the classics that most high school English classes love so much (e.g. Animal Farm, the Great Gatsby, Scarlett Letter, How to Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye). Don’t forget to read some of the thematic analysis available online and look up the words you don’t understand.
Just do it. The essay is probably the most intimidating section of the SAT, but do it well and you will give a boost to your score. Practice writing essays on the exam topics, then write about your ideas on your topic as much as you can, afterwards do research on that topic to add value.
The essay is marked on several aspects, particularly good use of language and thought complexity. So what does this mean? The first impression is the most important part of the essay, along with its length. The markers have hundreds of paper to mark and probably will choose to skim on the essays. Which one do you think he will give a higher score for? A short essay or a long essay? This doesn’t mean that you should try to fluff up your essay, as the content would still be important. Something eye-catching and relatively memorable will secure good score better.
On the side note, the essay will be optional from onwards 2016.
Learn from Your Mistakes
Part of the learning process is to understand and fix your mistake along the way. Take your time to go through the answers after your practice test. Learn why you picked that certain answer and why you are wrong.
Focus On the Weak Areas
The exam is multiple subjects, so you need to be the jack of all trades to score relatively decent. You can’t be good in one but terrible in another, and it will just balance it out and leave you will mediocre grade. For every hour you spend on perfecting your best subject, devote twice the amount of time you spend improving your weakest subject. Don’t forget that if you are having troubles, consult your teachers for advice.
Practice, Practice and Practice
If you don’t have the knack to study daily, then practice more instead. Do a timed, full-length practice test every few weeks with no distractions, like you are taking an actual test. This will not only get you familiar with your speed, but also train your focus endurance. Can you honestly sit through the full four hours of the exam under stress condition on your first time?
You will learn how to pace your progress, deal with exhaustion and most importantly, know which subjects you need to master better. As you do more, you will reveal more of your weak areas that you should try to improve and the structure of the test. You will know what to expect from your upcoming test in general, maybe spending less time studying something you know will never come up.
Avoid Cramming for the Exams
If you want a satisfactory result for your SATs, you probably need plenty of time to prepare. Eight weeks is the usual amount you need to have, with no time intensive conflicting activity such as sports practices. Cramming can be done, but I won’t really recommend it. It will only get you panicked as you try to fit everything you, compromise some topics and skipping some of them for another. You don’t want that. Dedicate time and discipline into the exams if you do desire a result that reflects it.
Exercise, Eat and Rest Well on Test Week
Make sure that your body is healthy for the SAT papers, after all, you want to be in your optimal condition when you set down for the exam. Eat clean and drink plenty of water. Exercise if you don’t usually do, avoid lifting and intense exercises so you won’t hurt yourself. Exercises improve your stamina and make you feel more energetic.
Finally, have a good night sleep. You have studied enough for the exams, you are going to score well, there is no need to stress over and do your revisions till morning. Have a nice sleep and go in the exam hall with confidence.