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when should i study for the SAT?


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John’s Answer

Lauren, pick an SAT date thats far enough in advance that you have time to prepare — I would recommend 3–4 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. Your junior and senior year are packed with important events, so it’s important to plan where your SAT fits in. It’s no surprise that one of the best ways to prepare for the SAT is to study, and I would recommend you use the official resources created by the makers of the SAT. 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.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
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. Taking a practice test familiarizes you with the structure of the test, pacing of test questions, and how you’ll feel at 8 a.m. on your test day. As SAT is a grueling exam that stretches for around 4 hours, it requires both mental and physical stamina. In an age of constant distractions, maintaining focus for such a long period of time can prove to be a challenge. Only a couple of ‘breaks’ are allowed in the exam, a 10-minute break after the reading section, and a 5-minute break between the two math sections. A stretch break of 2 minutes is also present before essay (in case you opt for one). Understanding the test structure, instructions and the type of questions you will be asked will save you valuable time on test day.

NOTE: In response to COVID-19, college entrance exam requirements have been changing as well as SAT® and ACT® test dates. Contact the school where you plan to attend to confirm testing requirements. For more information on test availability and safety protocols, check the SAT and ACT sites for updates.

I hope this was helpful Lauren

John recommends the following next steps:

If you haven’t already registered for the SAT, you can register at the College Board website. You’ll need to create an account with them to register. You’ll be able to select from different locations and dates. Try to pick a location that’s not too far away, since you’ll have to drive there the morning of the test! • https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/register
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Before you start to study for the SAT, buy an SAT book, flip to the back, and take an SAT practice test cold. See exactly the kind of score you'd get with no study time at all. The score you get is your baseline score. From there, you'll know exactly where you need to improve.
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If you find it hard to study on your own, you may want to consider taking a test prep class. Some schools offer remote or in-person programs or study groups, and you may also be able to find a privately run prep course in your area. When you don’t understand an answer, having an instructor by your side to explain it can be a big help.
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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Lauren! Well I would recommend your junior year; honestly the more classes you take the better you feel for the SATs. I'll give a personal example, so I took my SATs during my junior year but I hadn't taken geometry yet so I didn't do as well on the exam. I retook in the Spring and I had more knowledge of geometry because I had taken the class before my SATs. Even my sister's boyfriend who was helping me prep realized how much more I had gained knowledge in answering question, so that being said yes you can start to study whenever you want but I would wait the first two years to really gain knowledge in your class work. Then you can set up study blocks and really go into it full time and spend your junior year preparing for it, most students, if not all, take it their junior year. There should be PSAT at your school around your sophomore year I believe (it's been a while) and that will give you a good indication of how prepared you are for the actual exam. Based on that you can tailor yourself to study more for one topic than another or all the topics similarly- some individuals for example are strong in math or strong in English so therefore balance their subjects accordingly. I would recommend Khan Academy and Collegeboard for studying, they are free websites to help with SAT prep, especially Khan academy!

I hope this helps and best of luck!

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Thomas’s Answer

You should start studying your freshmen year. The more you study and familiarize yourself with the material, the better you will score. I would recommend getting a practice book and just start working your way through it now.

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Apurva’s Answer

I would say probably 8th grade or 9th grade. There are so many free resources on the College Board site like Khan Academy. I would practice test taking because much of what the SAT is about is about taking the test itself.

Don't stress during the process but also try to be intentional in your practice and study where you feel you are lacking knowledge. It's just one test so don't blow it out of proportion but I would find time to do a little bit throughout high school so you are ready when the time comes.

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Jenifer’s Answer

As the parent of a high school senior, the SATs have been front and center in our house since her sophomore year when she first took the PSATs. My daughter employed many different techniques from books to classes to tutors to Khan Academy before finding the study approach that worked best. HOWEVER......approaching the college selection process yielded mixed results on how heavily schools count SATs as part of the admission process. Since many schools had to waive SATs as a selection criterion this year, understanding where you may want to study could impact the time and energy you put into SAT prep.

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Elizabeth’s Answer

Hi Lauren,

The sooner, the better! It is best to dedicate a few hours a week and build upon this as you get closer to taking the test by perhaps enrolling in a preparatory course. I additionally cannot emphasize enough the benefit of completing practice questions, particularly in subjects you are weakest in. Good luck!

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Jen’s Answer

I would recommend a 6 month course leading up to the SAT in order to space out the studying, but not have it be too far from the test. Everyone has their own unique style of learning, but repeating sections and mixing up the courses is the best approach.

I would also recommend a coach or accountability partner to help you stay the course with your study timeline.

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Jack’s Answer

Hey Lauren. I would say as early as freshman year. The goal is to practice little by little instead of trying to study all the material within few months. I recommend purchasing a practice book, pinpointing areas where you need to make improvements, and working to make those your strength. For me, getting into a study routine was very tough. To overcome it, I created a weekly schedule for myself and held myself accountable. Another option is to hire a tutor or enroll in a SAT class.

Hope this helps and good luck!

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Esther’s Answer

I'd definitely agree with the others here that say the sooner the better, perhaps around 8th grade on average especially because standardized tests, especially the SATs are not a comprehensive/organic test of one's intelligence; it can be a difficult test that sometimes learning what/how they test (decoding and practicing the pattern) is the best way to increase your scores over time of disciplined practice.

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Victoria’s Answer

Hi! I took my SATS in the fall of my Junior year and took it also in the spring to see if I could increase my score. I think I started studying the summer before my junior year. With the SATs I also found that with practice the exam gets easier (ie. learning the question format).

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