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Top 10 Ways to Prepare for the SAT

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With college applications just around the corner, getting a good score on the SAT is most important now more than ever. Getting a high score on the SAT not only will make you a competitive applicant when applying to top-ranked universities such as the ivy League but also allows you to qualify for scholarships. 

But what is the SAT? 

The College Board administers the SAT, which is a standardized test that is broadly recognized for admissions in the United States. It is a three-hour-long multiple-choice test with two sections: Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.

The total score for the SAT is 1600. In order to ease your way into the ivy leagues, it is highly recommended to ensure that your SAT score is above 1450. Unfortunately, the average score is only 1060. Most high school students take the SAT during the spring of their junior year or fall of their senior year.

However, It’s important to retake the test if you are required to increase your score before you apply to college. So, if you have already taken the SAT once or twice, you might be asking yourself, what could I have done to get a better score? 

First, you need to have a target score in mind to assess just how much work you need to put in and allocate your time efficiently. Not every student is trying to apply to highly competitive universities. Second and third tier universities do not have a high requirement for the SAT score.

So for those with a score below 1350, there are plenty of options left! The higher your SAT score is, the higher your chance will be of receiving scholarships. Not only from universities but also from College Board.

To reduce the financial burden on students, College Board provides a scholarship opportunity that gives each student who participates a chance to earn up to $40,000.

Hence, it is always better to aim high. So if you’re looking to get into MIT or Harvard, or even minimise your financial burden, keep reading to discover ​​10 Perfectly Good Strategies for Better SAT Scores.

Improve your vocabulary

In order to tackle the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section, you must ensure that you build your vocabulary each day as much as possible.

Usually, students use flashcards to learn the meaning of 5 or 10 new words each day and apply them in a real life setting. This will save time when it comes to comprehension as you will understand the text much better.

Make sure that you start to improve your vocabulary way in advance of your test in order to retain that memory and understand the different vocabulary better.

Improve your reading and writing

When it comes to the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section, it can be a little difficult to finish it within the time constraint. Hence, reading and writing are extremely crucial to doing well in this section.

Furthermore, familiarizing yourself with the texts and vocabulary will help you comprehend the different sections much better.

When it comes to the history text, it is highly recommended to do some background reading on American history so that not only will the content be familiar to you, but also the style of writing. 

Utilise SAT study materials

There are countless SAT prep books and various other resources online. These books guide you by providing tips, practice questions, reading examples and so much more.

Take advantage of these SAT study materials to improve your knowledge and understanding of the test. 

Also Read: Why Is My SAT Score Lower Than I Expected?

Avoid careless mistakes

Careless errors are by far the most frustrating thing on the planet. It would really hurt to find out that you lost a few points to reaching your desired score because of careless errors. So, I would strongly advise you to recheck your answers, especially in the math section.

Allocate the last 5 minutes to ensure that there are no sign or number changes or any other careless error that you may have possibly made. Now, you can rest in peace (not literally). 

Practice, practice, practice!

The best and most efficient way to increase your SAT score is by taking up practice tests. Once you have familiarized yourself with the content in both math and English, it is time for you to take your pencil and start shading in some answers.

When you do this, you start to understand the type of questions that could come your way and the way the SAT is structured. It also allows you to identify your weaknesses so that you could focus on them more and turn them into strengths.

Furthermore, practicing the SAT allows you to become more time-efficient and tells you which areas you need to spend more time focusing on.

Especially, when it comes to the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section, it can be a little difficult to finish it within the time constraint.

Hence, practicing allows you to be better, even if it is only by a minute each time you take it.

Avoid stressing too much

While the academic pressure can really get to you sometimes, always make sure to never cram too much too fast. Take breaks, go for a walk, watch your favourite tv show, or anything that helps you relax. Your mental and physical health should always be a priority, no matter what.

So, get 8 hours of sleep, eat well and calm yourself, especially during test day. Another way to make sure you don’t stress too much is to prepare well in advance so that you wouldn’t have to panic at the last minute.  

Memorise formulas

Apart from careless mistakes, I would say not knowing a formula on the day of the test but knowing how to solve the question could be the next most frustrating thing.

While most formulas are provided to you, you should always ensure that you not only memorise but also understand them. This will allow you to apply them confidently and will save you time. 

Create a schedule… and stick to it

There are tons of topics to learn for the SAT and a lot of practice required to ace it. Creating a schedule can help you be more organized and ensure that you have covered everything necessary and beyond. With school and extracurriculars, it is absolutely essential to fix a routine and stick to it. 

Discover your weaknesses

Don’t spend time learning and practicing the topics that you are already familiar with. Especially when it comes to the math section, most of the topics have already been dealt with at school.

Therefore, to allocate your time efficiently, focus on the topics or sections that you struggle with most, whether it be algebra or the history text in reading.

Be confident when test day arrives

Get a good night’s rest and come prepared on test day, knowing that you will do amazingly well. Don’t second guess yourself and just go with your gut. Good luck, you got this. 

Further Reading:

collegereadiness.collegeboard.org

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