The SAT is a college entrance exam created by the College Board and it is a multiple-choice test. Students may choose to take an additional essay portion of the test if they believe it will be in their best interest for the schools to which they’re applying. Your SAT scores give colleges an idea of how prepared you are for college work, and scores can affect admissions. Different colleges will give varying weight to SAT scores, but they generally aren’t the biggest factor affecting your acceptance. Your grades and the challenge level of your high school classes are what matter most.
Still, the college application process can be stressful for many reasons, and it’s best to prepare thoroughly for the SAT to ensure a good score. Here are some of the best tips to make sure you’re ready.
The SAT is generally taken during your junior or senior year of high school, and one of the main recommendations the College Board itself makes is to prepare early. Of course, this can mean that you start studying well in advance before you intend to take your test, but it also means planning out exactly when you’ll be testing and how to fit events in your life around this date. The College Board recommends scheduling your test at least two to three months in advance to ensure you have enough time to study and to discourage attempts to cram.
Read Outside of Class
The SAT is heavy on reading and will gauge how well you absorb long paragraphs of information. The questions themselves in the reading section aren’t necessarily made to be hard, but many students find the reading itself draining. One of the best ways to prepare is to read nonfiction outside of your classes since most of the reading section will be on nonfiction material. Good examples of things to read include newspapers, magazines, and journals. It will take time to build your reading skills, so this should be among your first priorities.
Practice Mental Math
The SAT is also heavy on math— a subject many students struggle with— and most sections won’t let you use a calculator. This means that you’ll be forced to either do calculations in your head or to work them out with a pencil and paper. Unfortunately, the SAT has a strict time limit, so the former option is best whenever possible.
You can find plenty of mental math tricks online that can help you answer simple and complex problems alike. You can greatly simplify any problem in your head by adding to each number in the problem to get more manageable numbers (ones that end in 5 or 0). Do the problem in your head with the new numbers, and then simply subtract the ones you added.
Work With Tutors
Sometimes it’s too much to try and handle everything on your own, and that’s where professional tutors can make a significant difference. Zinc educational services in New York are dedicated to helping students improve their SAT scores while also allowing them time to enjoy their school breaks and pursue other responsibilities.
Zinc.nyc offers SAT boot camps online that pair expert instructors with the best technology to improve students’ problem-solving skills in as little as two weeks. Zinc boot camps each offer two SAT practice tests (the College Board’s recommended way to prepare) that show students what to expect on the real test, which may help lower their anxiety. Zinc instructors also make the effort to get to know students and their learning styles, so they can have a great time learning and get maximum value from the course.
There are many ways to prepare for the test on your own and with others. In addition to tutors, you may also find it useful to work with a study partner and measure each other’s progress. No matter what you choose to do to prepare for the SAT, give yourself enough time to consider all of your options.