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What are some study tips to improve your SAT score?

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John’s Answer

Tricia starting early, following your personal study plan on Official SAT Practice, taking a full-length practice SAT, paying attention in class, and knowing what to expect on test day are five of the best ways to prepare for the SAT. Get ready for your SAT the way you’d get ready for a marathon: prepare purposefully and deliberately over an extended period of time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Being prepared won’t happen that quickly either, but it can be done if it’s done methodically.

We know that ideally you’d like all the time in the world to prepare for a test, but that’s not a luxury high school students have. Your junior and senior year are packed with important events, so it’s important to plan where your SAT fits in. Choose an SAT date far enough in advance that you have time to prepare—I recommend 2–3 months. Starting early gets you to gauge how much you need to study each week and helps you prevent cramming. Students who start studying earlier do better on the SAT and have more confidence going into the test.

In 2016, the SAT was modified to be more directly tied to what you’re learning in class. What this means is that it’s even more important to be paying attention in class and to your teachers. By the spring of your junior year, you’ll have three and a half years of rigorous coursework under your belt to help you succeed on the SAT. If there are any areas you think you need a refresher on, I recommend looking through webpage below to make sure you’re preparing for the right things.

KHAN ACADEMY • https://signup.collegeboard.org/official-sat-practice
It’s no surprise that one of the best ways to prepare for the SAT is to study, and we recommend you use the official resources created by the makers of the SAT. College Board partnered with Khan Academy for a new and improved approach to SAT test preparation that’s tailored to you and absolutely free. It’s called Official SAT Practice, and it’s the most comprehensive and official SAT study resource available. Make sure you reserve enough time to take at least one full-length practice test (about 4 hours if you practice the essay as well), and give yourself time to review the concepts you’re struggling with.

Taking a full-length SAT practice test is one of the best ways to prepare for your SAT, and College Board makes several full-length practice tests available for free on Official SAT Practice. Taking a practice test that follows the same timing parameters you’ll experience on test day gives you a strong indication of how you’ll score on the real SAT. Our research shows that your score on an official, full-length practice test taken after studying and within a couple weeks of your test date is highly predictive of the score you’ll receive on the actual SAT. Practice test results will also provide you with insight on what you need to work on as you approach the real test.

Knowing what to expect on test day is key. We know it can be intimidating to take such an important test, which is why we highly recommend getting to know what test day will be like. In addition to taking a full-length practice test so you understand the test format and timing, it’s important to prepare yourself to be on time and well-rested for the test. Plan how you’ll get to your testing center, and make sure you know where your testing center is. (It’s often not at your high school.). This eliminates anxiety on test day because all you need to do is wake up, eat a good breakfast, and get to your location. Scout out the location of your testing center to find enough (free) parking where you’ll be taking the test. Some tests are given at universities, which can have differing parking rules. Look up the rules before your test day.

Tricia though studying is important, we strongly suggest you don’t cram the day or night before your SAT. Instead, take the night before your test to —decompress. Lay out your clothes, assemble what you need to bring, set an alarm for the next morning, and then just relax and go to sleep early. Taking the night before the test to prepare yourself physically and emotionally gives you more self-assurance and energy walking into the testing center the next morning.

Hope this was Helpful Tricia

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Ro’s Answer


Specifically for the SAT Reading portion - make sure you know what KIND of questions will be asked, not just how to find the answer. (For example, Reading comp questions can be basically broken down into 8 kinds of questions: Vocabulary, Evidence, Best Evidence, Factual, Inference, Main Idea, Charts & Graphs, Rhetoric).

These categories have different names depending on which SAT program you use to practice your exam, but being able to identify the kind of question is important because you can identify your weaknesses and strengths and learn where you should focus your effort. (ex: I'm awesome at Main Idea questions, but I need to improve my vocabulary). Using a little bit of strategy will assist you in studying smarter rather than just studying harder. Good luck on your SAT, and remember to register early since some students are having problems registering for SAT and ACTs lately due to COVID19.

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Sydney’s Answer

Practice, practice... and guess what? PRACTICE! You got this!
Truthfully, I took the classes, the practice exams, I did everything I could to do well on my SATs. I think I got my score out of pure luck and math skills. I struggled with the English portion and would average out at about a 500, sometimes doing better, sometimes not. I think if I had done more it could've gotten stronger, but I've always struggled with this topic.
On math, I typically averaged at about 600, wasn't great, wasn't horrible. So adding these two scores together I would typically get a 1100 on my SATs whenever I practiced the exams or took it the first few times.
One exam, the last one of the season, I took the real SAT exam and the math section was so easy! I breezed past it. Due to this, I was able to score a 700 on that portion and with my typical 500 points on English I scored a 1310 I believe on my SATs which isn't too shabby! I'm not sure what you're aiming for but maybe also play to your strength and maybe you'll get lucky.

Also, some colleges aren't requiring SATs scores and presenting them may give you edge onto other applicants but again some schools aren't requiring them due to COVID-19.

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Angela D.’s Answer

Great question! The following are my gentle suggestions. First, there may be an online study group, tutoring, and other resources through your school. Alternatively, you can study with a buddy or form your own study group. Your local public library may have free test prep guides/books, reviews, practice tests by subject, and other study skill books available online or to download. Then there are fee-based options, such as purchasing books and/or study guides, test prep organizations (can have free practice tests too), and targeted tutoring. As was mentioned above, practice taking timed tests, pace your test-taking so you can retake the test at least twice, and guess (FYI - the ACT has never had a penalty for guessing). Basic test taking strategies still apply: use process of elimination; be careful of absolute terms (e.g., always, never, etc.), slang, extreme words, long answers; and answers that have the word "and" in them as two or more conditions must be met.

Please note that you don't need to study harder, but smarter (please see explanation and website below). By doing so, you will free up a little more time for: precious sleep (crucial for memory formation/retention/retrieval); some exercise (endorphins are hormones/chemicals released by the brain that can relieve pain and stress); and more opportunities to prepare nutritious meals (you need brain food!). Some visual folks do well with homemade flashcards (word or question on the front, answer on the back) or condensing notes into blurbs that fit on a two-sided page so that they can "remember" what the two sides "look" like. Others are more auditory, so reading notes aloud or listening to previous lectures prompts recall later. Mnemonics (a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations that assists in remembering something) can also be helpful. Pacing yourself is important. Watch some shows that are stress relievers like comedy!

Wishing you the best in your endeavors, Dr. B

A brief summary of smarter studying is to eliminate multi-tasking and engage in high intensity habits (pre-testing, spaced practice, self-quizzing, interleaving practice, and paraphrasing/reflecting). Short term mastery can be attained with easier, less effective studying techniques...which may be enough to get you through a quiz/test, but not for long term memory/mastery.


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