There’s no shortcut to doing well on the SATs. Performing well on what may be the most important test of your life requires hard work and preparation. You’ll need to study, and study hard. However, when you’re studying, there are more productive ways to spend your time that will help you work for a higher score.
What follows is a no-nonsense take on the SATs. There’s no denying that you have to put the work in to get your best possible score. What you shouldn’t do is waste time on ineffective studying that won’t help you put points on the board. You need to work hard, but you also need to work smart — that’s where these tips come in.
The most important thing you’re going to need to score high on your SATs is elbow grease. This is a crucial aspect of your academic record and a critical part of what college will accept you. Treat it seriously and prepare to put the work in.
In order to study hard enough to do well on your SATs, give yourself time. You might have extracurricular activities and jobs to keep up with, but make sure you leave plenty of study time. Plan ahead, save money if necessary, and make time in your schedule to execute your study plan.
Doing well on the SATs is a skill like any other. When you develop a skill, raw talent or intelligence is a good start, but it takes practice to do well. Here are some places to find useful SAT practice tests:
• Ask your school guidance counselor
• Take a reputable SAT preparation course
• Search for highly-regarded sources on the Internet
• Buy a SAT preparation book from a bookstore
Practice hard and often. There’s no substitution for working through the exact sort of problems you’ll be asked to solve on the SATs. Time your practice tests so you get used to the feeling of performing under pressure. Replicate the test conditions as closely as possible so there are no surprises on test day.
Consider a Tutor
Many tutors specialize in preparing students to take the SATs. A one-on-one or small group experience can be invaluable in getting you up to speed. A tutor can help you with various aspects of preparation, including:
• Time management
• Improving on weak subject areas
• Organizing your study time
• What to expect on the day of the test
Like a coach, a tutor may be able to identify weaknesses in your game that you won’t necessarily see. A tutor can then apply strategies they’ve developed by working with a number of other students to help improve those weaknesses. It also helps to talk to someone who has been through the process. They can help talk you through the realities of the test and how you should prepare for the big day.
Form a Study Group
While doing well on the SATs is ultimately up to you alone, it helps to study in groups. Regular study group meetings can help you organize your schedule and keep you on track. Different group members will bring different strengths to the table. You can learn from your fellow test-takers in areas where you may not be as strong. Some of your group members may be retaking the SATs and have valuable experience you can learn from.
The temptation with a study group is to have the social aspect interfere with your prep. The social aspect is important — you and your friends can help support each other through a stressful time. However, if it takes too much time away from your studying, it becomes a negative thing.
Consider forming a group with people you don’t know very well instead of with your best friends. That may help keep you all focused on the task at hand.
Find the Best Study Plan for You
There’s no getting around the fact that the SATs is one of the major academic challenges in a young person’s life. With the right plan, you can prepare in a way that will help you increase the depth and breadth of your knowledge.
It’s hard work, but it will ultimately pay off with a higher score. The right study plan will help you achieve your life goals and prepare you for multiple colleges.
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