SAT (originally Scholastic Aptitude Test)

SAT Tips From Past Test Takers

by VTaylor9 on 11/22/2013 7:07 AM

Planning for the Test

The SAT is one of two major college tests used to calibrate millions of high school students for college admission. It seems that the SAT scoring might be slightly more difficult than that of the ACT due to the liberal arts colleges that require the SAT compared with the larger land grant universities that require the ACT for admission. The ACT also test on some actual knowledge, while the SAT targets primarily your test-taking ability. Of course, you do need basic math and English knowledge, and the vocabulary questions are rather in depth, but once you know these words, you will hope for these questions.

Many students who plan to attend college will take both of these standardized tests. Both tests were actually required by my high school for my graduation, unrelated ...

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by michelledimino on 6/13/2014 9:19 PM

Two of the most important things I learned while preparing for the SAT were that your score and your wallet can benefit from studying with friends, and that even though it's not always the most fun, turning weaknesses into strengths is something you won't regret when test day rolls around.

I know that when I was starting to look into SAT prep materials, I was shocked by how expensive they could be. I bought one review book and was very happy with some sections of it but less so with others, and one of my best friends bought a book from another publisher and had the same experience. Once we figured this out, we looped in a third friend who was using an altogether different review book and pooled our resources. By opting to not write in the books and to ...

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by oliviajv on 6/13/2014 7:40 PM

The most important discovery I made about SAT prep is this: you can do it almost anywhere, at almost any time. This realization shaped the way I prepared for the SAT.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I discovered grockit.com, an SAT prep website that makes a fairly entertaining game out of answering practice questions. Since I’ve always had a tendency to procrastinate AND I wanted to do well on the SAT, Grockit was perfect for me—I could “waste time” on the internet and improve my SAT score! Now that a few years have passed, I think I understand why Grockit and sites like it were so useful in my studies.

Studying for the SAT is daunting. Sitting down with a giant prep book, reading chapter after chapter, taking practice test after practice test -- exhausting and ...

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Test Drive the SAT- register for a FREE Kaplan SAT Practice Test!
by emily_li on 6/10/2014 7:05 PM

I can't stress enough how important it is to take practice tests. Taking effective, accurate practice tests over and over again, grading them (don't let yourself cheat, do it properly!), and looking over answers you got wrong is one of the best ways to prepare. MAKE SURE YOU TIME YOURSELF. One of the biggest things that you want to get right is timing. I like having enough time to go through the entire test at a relatively good speed (maybe a little faster than leisurely, but not rushed.)

As I'm going through, I like marking the questions that I'm not sure about. I fill in an answer, or making a little arrow pointing towards the one I think it is, then put a very light asterisk next to it. After I'm done going through the test once, I go ...

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by vmalerie on 6/8/2014 9:30 PM

The most important thing I can say about studying for the SAT is to have variety in your study habits. Chances are, when you take the SAT, it will be your junior or senior year of high school; you have at least one year before that of peers and teachers warning you about this test; that means you have around one year to spend getting ready for that test. You can do a lot in one year.

By variety in studying I mean two key things:

One, mixing up what you are using to study; you can use online quizzes, buy practice tests books, take the PSAT, and more. With so many different outlets for studying it’s difficult to claim that you’ve used them all. There will always be some new post or website designed to help you practice or prepare for ...

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by oliviap on 6/9/2014 6:56 AM

The SAT itself is not a measure of overall intelligence; rather, it measures how you think. The good news is that you can teach yourself to think like the test, and it is not something that is extremely hard or difficult, but does require an extended amount of time and patience to acquire. I personally spent about a year preparing for the SAT, and learned that the mentality that I needed going into the test was one of a test-maker, not a test-taker. I learned to approach each problem from the perspective of someone writing the SAT; what skills was I being tested on in each problem, and how can I apply what I've learned to the problem itself?

A key strategy that I took was taking as many practice tests as I could find, whether they be online or in ...

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by ilmilmilm on 7/31/2014 9:52 PM

Your parents tell you that you need/don’t need a tutor, your friends say they will do this/that, and the Internet has probably a thousand times more tips and advice than what you really need – and still, you have no idea where to start. So, sir/madam, even though I may leave you as lost and unsure as before, here are some tips that will hopefully help you:

1) Put your high school studies first – if you generally do well in Mathematics and English (and other subjects), you have a much higher chance of doing well on the SAT: you have things absorbed, you probably have thought about what you have learned in school and have developed a critical mind and good writing skills. Doing well in school means less studying for the SATs.

2) Start by looking at what the SAT ...

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by brookepeabody on 6/27/2014 5:29 PM

The SAT is a very long test as you've found out by now. The key is: study in small portions.

I took the SAT twice. The first time I crammed and studied the week of the test, I received a score of 1900. The second time I took the SAT, I studied for two hours every day for over a month before the test and gained a score of 2190 which I was very pleased with.

Each Monday I would take a practice test to gauge my progress. The results of that practice test would determine which sections I would study each week. The main resource I used was McGraw-Hill's Study book. This resource was excellent in breaking each sections in individual pieces to work on specific skills.

Tips:

- Find your weakness and study that every day along with other sections. My weakness ...

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by dawlfayce on 6/27/2014 8:40 PM

The first time I took the SAT test, I didn't really study ahead of time, and I wish I had. However, after taking the test for the first time, I decided that I was going to take it again, but this time, I was going to study and prepare so I could get a better score. I knew the SAT test wasn't going to be easy and I always allowed myself to get nervous ahead of big tests so I wanted to prepare myself and boost my confidence in my testing ability.

My aunt teaches English at a university and had suggested I take a test prep course. After researching courses together, she helped me decide on Kaplan's SAT prep course online. She paid the $599 for me to take it and I was very appreciative at the time, but ...

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by kaitlyn_l on 6/13/2014 7:03 PM

While I was in high school I was what one would call a procrastinator even though I knew I wanted to go to college and get my nursing degree and that it wasn't going to be easy. While all my friends began applying to colleges and taking the SAT test our junior year, I decided having fun with my friends and enjoying my high school experience was far more important than preparing for my future. That's what senior year is for, right? Boy was I wrong! My senior year rolled around and I still hadn't taken my SATs or applied to a single college. I had always been a straight A student in high school so I decided to just register for the exam without studying or preparing at all figuring I would do well. I had gotten a 980. ...

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by talliabram on 6/12/2014 5:34 PM

The first thing I was told by a friend was to picture the SAT as a puzzle, rather than a test of aptitude. Whether you believe it or not, your perception of something can greatly affect how you perform. This mentality is crucial, especially when studying, because it reminds you that there is a method and strategy that can be applied to each problem and all you have to do is learn it. If you approach each problem as an element of a puzzle, it is much easier to convince yourself that there is a way to do it, even if the subject is not your best or the question is one you have never encountered previously. Another reason this method is helpful, is that it limits your frustration. I would say that the thing I struggled with most on ...

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by tkfitzsimm on 6/12/2014 2:56 AM

In today's society, there is a major push for high school students to attend college, receive a degree and make a steady income. But, the SAT/ACT can be a major hurdle. During high school, I had a prominent issue with test anxiety. So, how did I overcome this to take one of the most important exams of my life? Research. I started with reading about test strategies. Every person has a different method for studying. Some individuals may be able to binge study a few days before, others may need to just study for 30 minutes a day for a few months. For me, studying for small amounts of time, every day for months, proved to be the best method. To get in the proper mindset, I would recommend sitting down and considering what time commitment and environment are most ...

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by taylormanning on 6/9/2014 2:37 PM

When I was preparing for the SAT, I did not have money to spend on practice materials. At first, I was discouraged seeing my peers buying SAT practice books and paying for online tests. I was unsure if I would be able to do well without buying the types of materials they were. I started doing research and found many materials online that were free and said to be effective. The College Board website specifically has multiple free practice tests and one of my favorite tools, “Question of the Day” which really helped me do well on the SAT.

I downloaded the College Board app and started answering their daily question every day. This helped me see what types of questions were easy for me and which ones I needed more practice on. For me, I needed to focus on math. ...

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by allisoncm on 6/15/2014 10:56 PM

To study for the SAT, I studied about 3 days a week for 6-7 weeks. I used the CollegeBoard SAT Study guide book, which was super helpful, considering CollegeBoard is the company that creates the SAT. Around 6 weeks before I was scheduled to take the SAT, I made a calendar of upcoming events and scheduled the days I would study for the SAT. On the selected days, I studied for about 2-3 hours, taking frequent breaks. I figured out that taking more breaks, rather than less, is helpful because your mind doesn’t get as tired and worn out as quickly. I divided my study guide up into different parts and sections, and put on my calendar which section I would do on which date to make sure I was spending time where I needed to review the most. I ...

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by ocasados on 6/13/2014 2:35 AM

For many high school students preparing to enter college, getting a good score on the SAT is an important part of their college application process. So in order to maximize your chances of success on the exam, one of the best ways to prepare is to take as many practice exams as you can get your hands on. Get yourself as familiar with the actual test as you can without actually taking the test. Schedule out a few days in the weeks leading up to your exam where you take a full practice exam in a setting that is as similar to the setting you will be taking the exam as you can make it. Wake up at the time you will need to wake up on exam day, work at a desk that where you only have the things ...

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by caf437 on 6/13/2014 5:34 PM

Often times, as students we push studying for exams until the last minute. We all know in advance when it is time to take the SAT, and so, I recommend planning out the studying ahead of time. Create a schedule and be consistent with it. Practice so many times it becomes repetition. Now, I am not saying to push yourself so hard that you drain yourself. However, have discipline. Always remember your goal in wanting to receive the highest score possible. Even if it is just a sample test here and a few practice problems there, continuously doing problems will help you progress.

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by ilmilmilm on 7/31/2014 2:38 PM

Your parents tell you that you need/don’t need a tutor, your friends say they will do this/that, and the Internet has probably a thousand times more tips and advice than what you really need – and still, you have no idea where to start. So, sir/madam, even though I may leave you as lost and unsure as before, here are some tips that will hopefully help you:

1) Put your high school studies first – if you generally do well in Mathematics and English (and other subjects), you have a much higher chance of doing well on the SAT: you have things absorbed, you probably have thought about what you have learned in school and have developed a critical mind and good writing skills. Doing well in school means less studying for the SATs.

2) Start by looking at what the SAT ...

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by E_Weiner on 6/20/2014 12:11 AM

When I first sat down to start studying for the SAT, I had no strategy. I came to the table knowing what I was good at, knowing what I needed to work on, and that was pretty much it. I’d taken the PSAT in 10th grade, but that did little other than offer a broad generalization of what subjects I needed to invest the most time and effort studying. However, the thing to remember, always, about standardized tests, is that it’s not about the information; it’s about knowing how to take the test. Because it’s not subject specific, it’s often best to forgo studying individual, discreet things, as you would for a history or science exam, and instead study the structure of how the questions are given.

That is, at first, an unhelpful suggestion. Study the structure? But that is ...

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by AyaGrace on 6/18/2014 9:20 PM

My first time taking the SAT was spring of 2011, the end of my junior year in high school. The first time, I went in blind, as suggested by peers to see what the test entails first, and pay attention to what kind of supplemental help I needed. After taking the test and receiving my score, I bought CollegeBoard's Official SAT Study Guide and studied some over the summer and early fall. In fall of 2011, my senior year, around the time I applied for colleges, I took my second test. I had a 1080 increase in my score.

In the book, I primarily utilized the practice tests and practice problems. My struggle was mainly in English, as I am a slow reader and often did not even finish the questions on some sections. This gave me no time to double ...

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by cvelez on 6/16/2014 6:10 PM

The worst part about this test is that you never know what to expect, so just put the extraneous variables out of your mind and focus back on you. You can control how diligently you studied in the past few weeks; you can control what time you go to bed the night before; and you can control what you eat for breakfast. If you make good choices before the test even starts, you're going to be fine.

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Practice Tests Make for a Better Score! - The first time I took the SAT test, I didn't really study ahead of time, and I wish I had. However, after taking the test for the first time, I decided that I was going to take it again, but this ...

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