It’s easy to pick up an SAT prep book and just flip through it every now and then. And this isn’t that bad of thing either: you can brush up on the basics, do some practice problems, and, with barely any sweat on your brow, move on to something else.
One reason students have this attitude is the SAT takes place almost every month throughout the school year. It is easy to shrug off serious prep and tell yourself that you’ll do more later (remember grades and social stuff will intrude!).
But if you want to do your best on the SAT, you got to hunker down. In other words, grab that SAT prep book (preferably the one published by College Board), turn off that smartphone, and find a comfortable place to sit. It’s time to get serious.
Many SAT students put off studying vocab to the last minute, thinking that it is just like any vocab quiz they’ve studied before in the past—study for 10 minutes, before and voila, regurgitation time.
With the SAT you have to deal with thousands of words, and the sooner you start the better. But don’t just start going through generic SAT word lists. Using flashcards that come in a set testing the most common SAT words is a great place to start. You can also use quizlet.com to make your online flashcards for those words you encounter while you prep.
Learn the Ropes
Don’t just do practice problem after practice problem. Learn how the test actually works. The College Board book has a great introduction, and you can learn SAT basics from blogs such as Magoosh. Think you already got that part down? Well, did you know that guessing on the SAT is not a bad thing? In fact, guessing—in certain cases—can help improve your score. You’ll also learn how to avoid common SAT traps. Doing so will definitely improve your score.
Okay, so you know how the test works, and the way the test writers try to trick you. Then it is time to get serious. Start creating practice sessions. First time yourself on an entire section. Grade the section, try to figure out your mistakes (don’t just look at the answer), and think of ways to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. As you near the big day, you should be able to take an entire timed SAT test (and don’t forget to turn off your phone!).
Need a Hand?
Sometimes, trying to follow a set routine is hard. Hey, after all that is part of the reason you’ve only been able to crack the SAT book open every now and then. But don’t worry—we have devised a three-month SAT study schedule that will help get you into SAT shape (without taking away your social life—at least not all of it!).
This post was written by Kevin Rocci, resident SAT expert at Magoosh. For more advice on SATprep, check out Magoosh’s SAT blog.