Updated: Jan 15
Millions of students prepare for the SAT every year to secure admission in their dream colleges. But acing the SAT exam is no easy game. For the uninitiated, SAT is an entrance test for students to secure admission in colleges. The test serves as a benchmark for the students’ academic abilities and is among the most pivotal points in a student’s academic life. Let’s understand a few SAT basics before we get to the main subject of this article - how to prepare for the SAT?
What does the SAT stand for?
When the SAT was first introduced in 1926, it was called Scholastic Aptitude Test. Later, it was changed to the Scholastic Assessment Test. But the SAT is now an empty acronym with no particular full form to it. The SAT is conducted by the College Board which is a non-profit organization.
How long does the SAT take?
The SAT consists of three sections namely Evidence-based Reading and Writing and Math. The reading and writing section must be completed in 100 minutes with 65 minutes allotted for reading and 35 minutes allotted for writing. The mathematics section must be finished within 80 minutes. There are two subsections within the math section. One subsection permits the use of calculators whereas the other needs to be solved without a calculator.
What subjects are on the SAT?
The reading section entails MCQs based on passages. The topics range from literature and historical documents to social and natural sciences. The writing section deals with passages based on career, humanities, science and social studies.
Topics in the math section include the heart of algebra, problem solving and data analysis and passport to advanced math.
What is a good SAT score?
You can score anywhere between 200 and 800 for each of the compulsory sections (reading and writing and math). The highest total score for both sections is 1600. The lowest score is 400. Students should aim for a SAT score of 1400 and above to get into top competitive colleges.
How many times can you take the SAT?
There are no restrictions on the number of attempts. You can keep trying till you get the perfect score.
Now that you are acquainted with the basics of the SAT exam, it is time to get to the heart of the matter. Let’s dive straight into a few insightful tips to ace the SAT exam.
How to prepare for the SAT?
Preparing for the SAT exam need not be so hard and confusing. Listed below are a few actionable tips that will come in handy during SAT preparation.
1. Start early
It is always better to get good scores at the very first attempt and this requires advance preparation from your end. Students are recommended to pick a test date that will give them at least 3 months to prepare. 3 months is a good time to practice and master the SAT exam pattern. You can complete the registration process through the College Board website. When you start early, you have the luxury to understand the nuances and nitty gritty of the SAT exam without dealing with stress and anxiety that usually happens when you start preparing at the eleventh hour. SAT preparation will be an enjoyable learning process if you give yourself ample time.
2. Identify your skills early on
An SAT diagnostic test will help you identify your skills. This will give you a fair idea of where you stand in terms of SAT preparation. A low score does not mean you are incapable of scoring good marks during the actual exam. This diagnostic test is recommended just to get an unbiased insight into what skills you possess and what needs to be improved.
While you may feel confident about certain skills, a test will reveal whether you are actually able to score well in those areas. A student may feel confident about his/her grammar skills, but the test scores may reflect a different reality. A diagnostic test will help you understand your real strengths and weaknesses. This will also help you devise a proper study plan that will effectively address your weaknesses.
3. Work on your weaknesses
Once you start preparations in full swing, you will get a better understanding of the sections that demand extra attention. You may find some sections easy and some extremely difficult. You can