How Long Should You Plan for SAT Prep? A Student Guide
When it comes to SAT prep, some students will cram a few days before the exam, while others start their studies at least 6 months in advance. Cramming will certainly result in a poor test score, and not everyone has 6 months to study. Your best bet is to plan for at least 3 months of SAT prep to gain a scoring advantage on the test.
While 3 months may seem like a long time, it really isn't in the grand scheme of things. Your SAT test results are what help you get into the college of your choice. Good scores will give you an advantage over others and put you in a better position to get into your “reach” schools. Dedicating as little as 15 minutes every day is relatively painless. It's worth it to take the time to prepare now to ensure a bright future.
Have you already registered for the SAT? If not, do so! Early in month one, you will want to purchase a SAT test prep book (or download one of our study guides). Use the book to quickly familiarize yourself with what will be on the test, then take one of the practice tests. Note your results. The score you get on your practice test will be your baseline. This baseline score will give you a starting point and help you track your improvement over the next few months.
After taking the practice test, begin doing coursework on your weakest subject. You may feel overwhelmed and find that you need extra help in preparing for the SAT. There are many test preparation programs available but consider your current schedule and mobility when finding a solution that works best for you.
Online test prep is ideal for most students since it can be accessed anytime from anywhere there is an internet connection. If you have a busy schedule, also consider an online SAT test provider that teaches in short timeframes each day. Daily, targeted studying will seem like less of a chore and will help you get better scores. Be sure to dedicate yourself fully to your daily study time.
Now that you have been studying for a month, take another practice test and compare your results with your baseline score. You should find marked improvement in your weakest subject from the previous month. If not, continue reviewing and studying the subject matter for that, along with your next weakest subject. In addition to your daily preparation methods, utilize study guides to further help you brush up on the subjects that you may be struggling in. If you are not making the progress you had hoped, consider taking advantage of group or individual tutoring.
As you continue your daily studies, take additional practice tests. If possible, take the practice tests at least weekly and in a similar environment that you will be taking the actual test in. Continue to focus on your weakest subjects, spending the most time on those, but also ensure that your strong subjects remain just as strong as they were at the start.
Read through your notes and get plenty of rest the night before the test. In the morning eat a good breakfast and review your study aides once more. Try to relax and remember to breathe. You've studied well!
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