SAT Prep: How to Study and Practice for the SAT Test
The first step for getting the highest score on the SAT test is to understand the test itself. There are 3 areas that are covered on all of the different sections of the test:
- The first area is evaluation and analysis of text. Most of this text is non-fiction. Because of the non-fiction focus, there are items related to social studies and science on the test. You will need to evaluate and analyze these text passages.
- The way the SAT test is set up wrong answers are not a penalty. Due to the no penalty, you should never leave an answer blank. A guess could mean a higher score.
- All sections of the SAT require you to problem solve and analyze data. You will see graphs, charts and data that you will need to analyze in order to get the correct answer.
Testing will include:
- Words in Context
- Command of Evidence
- Focus on Math that Matters Most
- Real-World Contexts
- Analysis in Science & History/Social Studies
- Great Global Conversation/Founding Documents
SAT Prep: SAT Reading Section
You will have 65 minutes to answer 52 multiple-choice reading questions. The purpose of this section is to evaluate how a student comprehends the information the read, think about it and use it. Because it is a reading section there is no need to memorize facts or definitions. You will be reading the passages or informational graphics and answer questions about the reading passage. All of the passages are selected from published works in the areas of classic and contemporary U.S. and world literature, history/social studies and science.
SAT Prep: SAT Writing and Language Section
Much like the reading section, the writing and language test is 44 multiple-choice questions that you have 35 minutes to complete. The writing and language section evaluates three writing and editing skills:
- Find mistakes and weaknesses.
- Fix them.
Questions will have you look at a single sentence or read an entire piece and interpret a graphic. The reading passages you’ll be asked to improve range from arguments to nonfiction narratives. The passages will vary in focus from careers, history, social studies, the humanities and science.
SAT Prep: SAT Math Section
The SAT math test includes multiple-choice (45) and student produced response questions that are grid-in responses (13). For the math section of the SAT test you will have 80 minutes to complete the whole math section.
For the first 25 minutes you will complete 20 questions, 15 multiple-choice and 5 grid-in. For this section, a calculator is NOT allowed. The next section is 55 minutes and includes 30 multiple-choice and 8 grid-in. A calculator IS allowed for this section.
The Math Test focuses primarily on three math topics, which are a part of a wide range of college/university majors and careers:
- Heart of Algebra, which focuses on the mastery of linear equations and systems.
- Problem Solving and Data Analysis, which is about being quantitatively literate.
- Passport to Advanced Math, which features questions that require the manipulation of complex equations.
A smaller percentage of questions focus on other topics such as the geometry and trigonometry relevant to college and career readiness.
SAT PREP: Before Taking the Test:
1. Study early: Studying well before the test allows you to take practice tests and focus your studying on skills you may be behind on. It also means no cramming sessions are needed.
2. Attempts are important: Entrance exams are a key factor for many admissions offices. Because the SAT is a key factor it should be taken with all seriousness. You should try your best but remain calm and relaxed while taking the exam.
3. Practice tests: You should take multiple practice tests. We like the Official SAT Practice test available at Khan Academy. You do need to sign up for a free account but this is the only test that is officially from the SAT board. While you take these practice tests, you can learn what areas you need to focus on as well as making you more comfortable with the entire process.
4. Sleep and eat: Being tired can cause higher stress levels. You should make sure you get adequate sleep for a few days/weeks before your test day. Because the SAT is usually given in the morning, remember to eat breakfast before the test. This will keep you awake and help you stay alert for test day.
5. Arrive early with supplies in hand: It is best to arrive early so you have plenty of time to be checked in and get to your sear. Also make sure you have all that you need to take the test (pencils, erasers, calculator). Use the restroom before the test starts but make sure you plan for a break in the middle of the test.
SAT Prep: Tips for During the Test
6. Process of Elimination. Use the process of elimination for questions you may be having difficulty with. Cross off any answers you know are not correct and then make the best educated guess from the remaining answers.
7. Remember there is no penalty for wrong answers. Even if you cannot eliminate answers, make a guess.
8. Move forward. Test questions range in difficulty and are in a random order. If a question is too challenging, mark the question and come back for it. Just make sure your answers line up to the questions. Often you will skip a question but forget to skip the number on the answer sheet. Double check this from time to time.
10. Mark it. Use marks on questions to help you focus on main parts of the questions, eliminate answers or help you make an educated guess. Marking in the booklet will also help you concentrate and can help you manage your time better.
Good Grades Tutoring does offer an SAT Prep Program and would be happy to help your student.