Every year, thousands of students dreaming of finding their way into their top-choice colleges prepare themselves for the SATs. To take the SATs successfully, students need to know when to start preparing, what to learn, and how often to study.
With the right learning techniques, any teen can become familiar with the format of the test, making it more familiar and establishing a reliable foundation for their academic futures. However, SAT prep requires a great deal of discipline, dedication, and an understanding of personal strengths and weaknesses.
The SAT Format
One of the first things a student needs to learn when preparing for their SAT test is which questions they're likely to see in the exam. The standard SAT test will consist of the following three sections: Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing.
All sections aside from critical reading will include a series of questions that are presented in ascending order of difficulty. This means that the questions introduced towards the beginning of the section are easier than those at the end.
Knowing this format can be helpful to students, as it encourages them to learn proper time management for how they will approach their test. The questions at the beginning of the section are less likely to require as much time as those at the end, so their time strategies should take this into account.
The total length of the test will be three hours and forty-five minutes, with two 25-minute sections, and one 20 minute section in critical reading and mathematics, as well as a ten minute section and two twenty-five minute sections in the writing aspect. What's more, each test will include a multiple-choice section of 25 minutes in length that won't contribute to the overall student score.
Students receive one point for every question answered correctly in multiple choice, zero points for an unanswered question, and a deduction of .25 every time a question is answered incorrectly. This means that it isn't a good strategy to guess the answer if a student isn't sure. This doesn't mean that a student should give up on any difficult question, but that guessing should be done in an educated fashion.
Know When to Start Studying
An SAT score can have a big impact on gaining acceptance to the college of your student’s choice. With that in mind, it's important to remember that students must have plenty of time to prepare. Any young man working toward his SAT test should start to build a balanced regimen for studying months in advance.
Your student’s studying regimen will depend on the methods that work best for him. For instance, some teens retain information better when left to study by themselves, whereas others benefit from group sessions where they can bounce ideas off their peers.
Regardless of how your son chooses to study, it's important to remember that good preparation takes place over a series of months rather than a number of panicked days. Often, students determine how many hours they may need to study by evaluating their goals. However, it's important to recognize that each student will develop at different speeds and face different challenges.
Know Your Goals and Limits
Once your son has established a routine for studying, it's important to find a method of preparation that works well for him. Most people find that nothing is quite as effective in helping them to prepare for the SAT as taking the test itself. Obviously, students can't get their SAT test ahead of time for practice, but they can take practice tests to help them get used to the format and increase their endurance in managing long academic challenges.
Sitting for an exam that is almost four hours long is likely to be a difficult task, so it's a good idea to work out the appropriate muscles beforehand in order to develop stamina. Stamina is built through practice tests and regular exercise, much like how cardio and strength training help to improve energy levels and endurance over time.
When taking practice tests, it's a good idea to grade them once they are finished. This will help students recognize their weaknesses and strengths. During practice sessions, students should make a note of which sections they struggle with the most so that they can focus some extra study time on these particular types of question.
Approaching the SAT may seem to be all about studying and hard work, but it's also important for students to recognize the moments when they need to rest, too. Students need an appropriate amount of sleep so they're refreshed and capable of tackling educational challenges. The more they focus on maintaining good sleep, dietary, and exercise standards, the more likely they are to be in top condition for the exam.