How To Prepare For The SAT
With SAT having gone through a make-over in early 2016 it’s essential you’re up to speed with all things SAT related.
What’s included in the SAT?
The new SAT has 3 mandatory sections and one optional section.
1. math test (1 hour 20 minutes)
2. reading test (1 hour 5 minutes)
3. writing and language test (35 minutes)
These tests add up to 3 hours in total.
An optional section is the essay. You’ll need to check the colleges you’ll be applying to as to whether they require the essay. If you’re not yet sure which colleges to choose, cover your bases and take the essay regardless.
The essay will last 50 minutes and will consist of reading a passage of text and then writing an analysis on what you’ve read.
The good news is that the SAT is testing the skills and knowledge you’ll need for college and not how well your memory can recall certain facts.
In the mandatory sections you’ll be asked to evaluate and analyze questions and then find solutions which will be your answers.
There are seven different SAT dates each year to choose from to take your test (usually October, November, December, January, March, May and June). Once you receive your results you can retake your SAT test at a future date if you want to increase your score.
What scores will I receive?
The overall SAT score, which most colleges use as one of their assessments on your suitability for college, can range between 400 to 1,600 points.
In addition, you’ll receive a breakdown of each of your section and sub section scores, as well as comparison scores to other students in your state and to all students who took your SAT test.
You can assess all your scores online at CollegeBoard.org via your online college board account.
Preparation, practice and persistence are key to success in your SAT.
Prepare to take your SAT by giving yourself lots of time to research what’s included in the SAT, the best types of answers to submit and building up your confidence to believe that you can be great at your SAT test.
Try to be as flexible as you can with your study time and built it around your day to day life so it becomes part of the norm and not an extra chore.
A test is never daunting if you’ve practiced beforehand with example questions. There are lots of organizations offering free online SAT practice tests, or SAT apps for your cell phone; plus, your high school should also have past SAT papers you can work through.
The more tests you take, the more prepared you’ll be for the actual SAT and you’ll be used to the types of questions asked. Always make sure you time yourself when taking your practice tests and keep to them. This means on the actual test day you won’t be surprised or daunted by any of the timed test questions or essay.
Persistence is a key trait you’ll need to succeed at college. By persisting with your SAT research, taking SAT practice papers, however hard or challenging you find them, and continuing to develop your skills and knowledge at high school, these activities will definitely help you succeed at your actual SAT test.
Is there anything else I need to know?
Fee waivers for SAT tests are still available if you’re an eligible student. Your high school will be able to advise you further on this.
You can still take SAT subject tests in science, history, languages, literature and math as well as the main SAT test and these haven’t undergone a makeover this year.
They will test your knowledge in your chosen subject and each test is one hour long. It’s worth checking the colleges you’re applying to, in case they require SAT subject tests as well as the main SAT test.
Still undecided on the SAT or the ACT? Find out more about the ACT in our comprehensive guide.