Free advice: Study for SAT early, often


Many students rely on prep books, such as this one, to prepare for the SAT. This year the SAT offered to every junior through school day testing has been cancelled, however many are taking time in quarantine to study in anticipation of being able to test in the fall. Photo by Nina Simon 21.

Tre Benson '21, Page Editor

Standardized testing is a different experience for anyone pursuing a college career. For some, the test material comes natural to them, and they are able to read, write or calculate the problems in their mind on the spot. For others, preparing for the test requires a little more attention.
They may have to sign up for private SAT or ACT testing programs to teach them strategies to tackle a specific category of the test. Whether you are confident in your testing ability, or need a little more practice, I strongly advise that you take standardized testing seriously.
Unfortunately, there is no way around this testing process due to the fact that 95 percent of colleges require the ACT or SAT scores. The only way through is forward.
One way to study for the test is starting early. By preparing ahead of time and keeping up with your current high school material, you can be more prepared for the test. The SAT consists of over 150 multiple choice questions (about 50 per category) and an optional essay, too much material to cover in a day.
By dedicating a couple months to studying, you can be more prepared for the test. The College Board recommends students to study from 6 – 20 hours for your first SAT.
Another way to study is using different practice programs that are already available to you. Khan Academy, an official program licensed by the College Board, provides free SAT and ACT practices that use actual material that would be seen on the test.
It can even walk you through how much practice you need based on your current PSAT scores that you take in the beginning and end of the year regularly up until Junior year.
Paying attention in class is also a good way to study for the test. The test challenges your math, science and reading and writing skills so focusing on building those skills will greatly improve your ability to understand questions on the test. Much of the material in class appears on the actual test, especially algebra.
It may not seem important but, reading regularly can also prepare you for the test. By reading, you are exercising your ability to critically think about the meaning about what you read, which will be part of the reading portion of the test. It also expands your vocabulary, so you are less likely to trip up on words you don’t know or understand.
Some of these tips came directly from the College Board, which offers many more tips about how to prepare. By following these tips of studying and starting ahead of time, you can increase your chances of succeeding this spring.