In a world where students are busy with schoolwork and other commitments, it can be easy to put off the SATs and forget how important they are. However, it will be less likely for someone to have a high SAT score the first time around without proper preparation for test day. Just as you will prepare for college, the same will apply whenever you plan to have the standardized test.
SAT is a very crucial piece of the puzzle into a successful entry into your college of choice. If you don’t prepare well, any poor score on either SAT subject test will expose you to a difficult goal to improve and may deny you the chance to enter your school of choice. While preparation informs the bedrock to a good SAT score, there is never any reason for a student or parent to spend more to get the required resources.
But how can someone prepare successfully for the tests? Well, the official SAT guide is the only way to realize this. And it is crucial to note that a myriad of providers creates their SAT materials. But you will be wary because, in many instances, the credibility of these materials has been in question. That is why you will only need to use the official SAT guide offered by the Educational Testing Services.
One reason to use these official materials alone is that they are easily available. The College Board offers its own SAT study guides full of previous sample questions used in past exams. Also, the official guides are usually meticulously crafted and vetted to ensure quality at all costs. The other alternatives from third parties often feature difficult to understand test structure, weird question elements and are not average in terms of the difficulty level.
Best Way to Prepare For SAT
The SAT is a highly predictable test. However, without adequate preparation, you’re likely to fail. To avoid failing this simple exam, you should build an effective study plan. Effective study plans are usually realistic, comprehensive, and smart. If you’d like to prepare an effective study plan, here are some of the tips you need.
Choose Your Testing Date
Before preparing a study plan, you should first choose your test day. Choose a date that gives you enough time to prepare and fits into your schedule. When picking a date, you should be mindful of college application deadlines. As much as the date should work well with any of the obligations you have, go for one guaranteed to get your scores before college application deadlines.
Gather Your Resources and Study Tools
One of the strategies college students use to avoid cheating in college is that they have all the resources they require to prepare adequately. Similarly, after knowing your test date, you should assemble all the SAT study tools and resources that you need. By assembling these resources, you’ll avoid time wastage. You may also undertake mental math tests to assess your problem-solving skills.
Calculate the Time You’ll Need to Study
It’s common knowledge that effective SAT preparation requires time and consistency. That being the case, to build an effective SAT study plan, you must calculate the approximate hours you’ll need to prepare adequately.
Set Aside Weekly Time
Most students caught cheating in college normally blame their unpreparedness on lack of time. To avoid such a scenario, you should calculate the amount of time you require to prepare adequately. Once you’ve finished your calculation, you should set aside the time that’s needed. You should also establish the goals to be attained at the end of every week. Goals are important. This is because they are a source of constant motivation. By setting the goals and remaining committed, you’re bound to prosper.
Take Practice Tests Regularly
Many people do not like taking practice tests. Studies have shown that most high school students usually take no more than three practice tests before their final exam. To avoid cheating in college, most university students regularly take practice tests. Regular practice tests are pretty essential as they help students enforce the strategies they’ve been developing. They are also useful because they help students evaluate themselves.
Time and again, the tips mentioned above have assisted plenty of students in building effective study plans. Given that they have assisted plenty of individuals in the past, you can rely on them to be of help to you.
The Official SAT Study Guide – Why It Is Special
The Official SAT Study Guide has, for years, been ranked as one of the best tools to prepare for SAT exams. Authored by the creators and the administrators of SAT exams, this study guide is the study guide-of-choice for many students about to sit for their SATs. Here’s why this is the case.
Has The Best Set Of Practice Questions
Most SAT study guides usually draw their practice tests from The Official SAT Study Guide. This is because The Official SAT Study Guide boasts of having ten full-length practice tests. Given that all these tests are official questions from past SAT papers, they’re the best set of questions available anywhere.
Proven to Be Effective
Of all the study guides available in the market, The Official SAT Study Guide has proven to be the most exceptional. Not only does it have the best set of questions, but it is also written in a way that you can easily understand.
Many students attribute their success to using The Official SAT Study Guide as their study guide-of-choice. Judging by the book’s fantastic reviews, it’s quite clear that it is worth every penny it costs.
Effective Study-At-Home Plans for the SAT
Different study plans work differently for different people. Listed below are some of the most notable study-at-home plans.
Seek A Personal Tutor
In an attempt to reduce cheating in college, most universities provide weak students with personal tutors. Personal tutors are normally of great help to students who are struggling to pass a subject test in math or science. While at home, learning is bound to be difficult. By hiring a personal tutor, you’d be making a prudent decision as your tutor will assist you to improve your grades.
Join Online Classes
There are plenty of institutions that offer fantastic SAT prep courses. While at home, you should consider joining one. The earlier you enroll in an SAT prep course, the better it is for you.
Where to Find SAT Prep Courses
Having to re-do an SAT exam is usually pretty frustrating. To avoid finding yourself in such a predicament, you should prepare amply. This is because the key to passing an SAT exam is sufficient preparation. Without adequate preparation, you can’t pass an SAT exam, however simple it is.
One of the best ways to prepare for an SAT exam is by enrolling in an SAT prep class. Various institutions offer SAT prep courses that are open for enrollment. Students enrolled in an SAT prep class, more often than not, find SAT math and SAT verbal exams relatively easy. It’s worth noting that a majority of students who normally pass the SAT exams are students who enroll in SAT prep courses before sitting for the exam.
Choosing the right time to take an SAT prep course is usually quite important. Ideally, students should enroll in the summer. When you enroll in an SAT prep course in summer, come fall, you’ll be more than ready to sit for the exam. By doing your SAT exams in the fall, you can rest assured of getting the results back before college application deadlines have passed.
Although it’s advisable to commence your SAT prep course in the summer, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the only time you should start it. If summer doesn’t work well with the obligations and commitments, it’ll only be right that you choose a date that fits in with your schedule.
Qualities of a Good SAT Prep Course
As noted before, several institutions offer SAT prep courses. Although all of them claim to offer open enrollment courses, this is not always the case. If you’re looking for a good SAT prep course, here are some of the factors that should guide your search.
Size of Class
Before deciding to enroll for an SAT prep course in a given school, you must ensure that the school allows a limited number of students to enroll in the course. The content typically set in SAT exams is complex. For you to learn and understand the content, you’ll likely require the personal attention and guidance of an \ SAT tutor. When you’re enrolled in a large class, you won’t get personal attention.
SAT Tutor’s Level of Experience
It’s widely known that well-trained and experienced SAT tutors teach better than their lesser trained and experienced counterparts. Experienced SAT tutors often have more knowledge than their inexperienced counterparts. Given that they’ve taught various classes, experienced tutors usually know which teaching tactics work. As such, before deciding to pursue an SAT prep course in a given institution, you must ensure that the school’s SAT tutors have enough experience.
Not all schools offer efficient SAT prep courses. Institutions that are known for fantastic SAT prep courses habitually have positive reviews. On the other hand, institutions with lackluster SAT prep courses have negative reviews. It’s advisable that before settling on a given school’s SAT prep course, you check its reviews.
Availability of Study Materials
Schools that offer exceptional SAT prep courses normally have the required study materials. Attending an SAT prep course in a school that doesn’t provide its students with study resources is a waste of time. This is because, without the required study materials, no effective learning can take place.
The question, “Where can I find excellent SAT prep courses in my area?” is one of the most searched questions on the internet. If you’re one of those individuals looking for exceptional SAT prep courses providers, here a list of some notable options you choose from.
Khan Academy: The Khan Academy partnered with the College Board to bring free, customized SAT prep to everyone. The academy offers its students access to thousands of practice questions, lessons, and videos. It also offers its students access to 8 full-length practice tests. By choosing to join the SAT prep course offered by this magnificent academy, you can rest assured of passing your SAT exams.
Kaplan: Kaplan is one of the most popular test prep companies. Its popularity is because, since its founding, it’s consistently published extremely effective test preparation books. By choosing to pursue your SAT prep course at Kaplan, you’ll enjoy services such as webinars that are hosted by experienced SAT tutors and free pop-quizzes.
If none of these suggestions interest you, you should consider looking into Varsity Prep, Veritas Prep, and B Line Test Prep.
Free SAT Prep Resources
Your SAT scores have a very big influence on the college you get admitted to. They are used as a point of reference to compare students in the national pool. Being a standard test for all students, it gives college admission officials a clear picture of where a particular applicant stands relative to other students from different high schools. Also, they help determine who gets scholarships and who misses out.
Colleges that receive tens of thousands of applications from all over the country don’t have time to go through each one. For the process to be fair and for them to make sure students get accepted on merit, they use SAT scores to narrow down the field. It is for these reasons that college applicants should take their SATs very seriously.
You must prepare to get a high SAT score. On average, over two million high school graduates sit for these tests meaning the competition is very tough, and only the best succeed.
Many resources are available to help you prepare. Some of them come at a price, while others are free of charge. There isn’t much that distinguishes these sources, so it doesn’t matter if it’s free or at a price. The only thing that matters is if the source is credible.
The Best Free SAT Prep Resources
There are plenty of online sources that offer free SAT prep resources. The most notable one being Khan Academy. Starting from the 2015-2016 school year, the College Board began working with Khan Academy to provide free test prep resources to students who cannot afford them. This material is helpful to students from humble backgrounds because it gave them an equal chance of competing with those from privileged homes.
As good as they may be, the Khan Academy SAT prep resources aren’t enough. You need to supplement your preparation with other resources from different institutions. This way, you are well acquainted with the requirements of the test and know what to expect. Below are some other free SAT prep resources that can help.
- Test Prep Review: They offer practice for many different standardized tests, including the optional ones. This site allows you to quiz yourself on SAT sections, as well as pick and choose which types of problems you would like to polish your skills on.
- Kaplan: They have a free SAT turbo test, which is their shortened version of the SAT. By doing this practice test, you get to find out how you would score if you took the test today.
- Princeton Review: They offer both in-person and online practice tests for free. After the test, you will get a detailed performance report with personalized tips on how to improve your score.
- Varsity Tutors: This is a test prep website that offers SAT practice like the question of the day, subject tests, and also flashcards. They also have a unique feature where users can create tests for themselves and others.
- McGraw-Hill: They don’t offer practice tests for the SATs; instead, they have five complete PSAT online practice tests with explanations for every question. They also have problem-solving videos and other PSAT prep materials like tips, and strategies. Don’t be reluctant to have a look at this one because this SAT practice test is more or less the same as SATs.
Most of these SAT prep resources are found online. You can search the web or even find links from the school library. Other schools offer in-person practice tests, so you can also apply for one of those. You can also find SAT prep books in community libraries.
You have nothing to lose when using free prep resources. They have proven to be effective, and thousands of high school graduates who’ve used free SAT prep resources have gone on to excel in their SATs and secured scholarships in ivy league colleges.
The only disclaimer to keep in mind when browsing through free resources is to ensure that they are credible. You can ask your teachers and career advisors to recommend the best free test prep resources.
Ultimately, practice makes perfect. To be well prepared for your SATs, a lot of practice is needed. By taking free practice tests, you can determine the areas where you are weak so you know where you need to improve to excel in the SATs.
What A Higher SAT Score Means for You
SATs are mostly deemed as make or break by most high school graduates. When preparing for an SAT, everyone wants to do their best and get a higher score. No one goes inside a test room to fail. By getting higher scores than other candidates, you are likely to have more opportunities. The higher the score, the better shot you have at getting into your dream college.
This advantage is why career advisors, parents, and teachers insist on the importance of passing the SATs and, sadly, also the reason why some people are willing to cut corners to get high scores.
There isn’t a particular score that is considering passing for SATs. SAT results often vary every year. As much as the test is standardized, you see variations in performance every year. For your SAT scores to be considered a high score, you must compare it to the average performance during that year.
In a year when most students scored below the known average composite score (1060), a score of about 1250 would be considered a high score. Conversely, in a year where a big chunk of the candidates scored above the composite score, 1250 wouldn’t be that impressive anymore. It’s all relative.
So, what does a high SAT score mean for you? The easy answer would be you passed, and you are set to have your pick of the bunch when it comes to college. However, it goes deeper than that. A high SAT score comes with many advantages like:
- Better Acceptance Odds: As mentioned earlier, your SAT score influences the college and programs that accept you. Although most colleges have a range, they are willing to accept that higher is always better. If you fall in the low end of the range, and another application has the same high school GPA as well as extracurriculars and a higher SAT score, the applicant with the higher score is likely to be chosen in your place, and you might end up in the waitlist.
- Scholarships & Grants: Many students don’t realize the role that SAT scores play in choosing who is awarded a scholarship. Since most scholarships are merit-based, a higher GPA/SAT/ACT score improves your chances of paying less tuition or even a full ride.
- Honors Programs: Some schools have honors only programs that require higher SAT scores. These programs will give you access to tools and events that other students don’t have. For example, college honors programs could include perks such as field trips, access to Honors-only courses, and separate housing with social events. Also, only students in these honors programs are eligible for certain awards.
Options for Students with Low SAT Scores
Despite putting in a lot of effort, sometimes the SAT scores aren’t a true reflection of the student’s ability, which could be due to performance anxiety during the exam or a host of other factors. But this is not the end of the road. There are plenty of options for students that find themselves in this particular predicament.
- Certificate Programs: Instead of following the traditional route and going straight to college. One could apply to a certificate program and then transfer the credits earned to a degree program. It might take longer, but it’s worth a shot.
- Alternative Standardized Test: If the SATs don’t reflect your true potential, you could take on the ACT as an alternative standardized test. Some colleges don’t have a preference between SATs and ACTs, so no damage is done.
- Take A Second Test: If you truly believe that your SAT scores aren’t a reflection of your abilities, you can always take on the test a second time. Some colleges accept a second test, especially if there is a valid reason as to why you didn’t pass the first time around.
Typically, it takes about 13 days from the day of doing the test to the day when you can view them online, at least for the multiple-choice part of the test. For those whose tests included an Essay, it will take roughly fifteen days to get an essay score. However, it is worth noting that the summer test date in June takes about five weeks.
A higher SAT score is very important as it opens up opportunities. With a higher score, you will have all the options under your control. On the other hand, a lower score will have you settling for schools that accept you.
When looking for the right SAT prep course, the most important considerations to have in mind are time and money. Since you can either go for an in-person course or take the online resources, the amount of money to pay will differ significantly. Some tutors will charge more than the others, and it is only sane to choose the online option if you are on a budget.
You will also want to factor in the amount of time you have until the test comes. This way, you will know the period you want to take for the course and prepare well for the test. In case you have limited time, for instance, one week, then the most likely thing to do is take the practice test to evaluate your weakness and strength. A better way to handle this is to leverage online resources.
Some people believe that free SAT prep courses, especially online, are not worth it. But you will want to remember that According to US News Education, Khan Academy, which partnered with the College Board in the first place, is an online platform. Therefore, using reputed free online or in-person prep courses will save you the time, money, and the daunting hassles of looking for the official materials.
A perfect SAT score will be something around 1600. But a good score that will see you get that dream college will depend on some factors. These may include your SAT score vs. the national average and your score vs. your target school’s average.