Most students wait until a few weeks before the SAT exam to prepare for it. Does that mean you have to wait until junior or senior year to prepare for the SAT? No. You can start preparing for the SAT now! Why? Because preparing for the SAT now helps you build skills that will get you a higher score than if you wait until the last minute. There are certain skills that just need more time than others. But that doesn't mean you have to carry around an SAT book for your entire high school career. What if I told you that you could prepare for the SAT right now without cracking open a prep book. So how do you do it?
Here are 10 tips to improve your SAT Score
- Build up your vocabulary
SATs are a lot about words and you have got to train your brain cells to think like a dictionary, or else, complacency will take its toll. A simple way of doing this is by playing word games that allow you to understand the meaning of each. There are some great vocabulary building apps and games out there.
Just think about it as an intense workout exercise – you won’t see the result a week in, but you’ll reap its harvest when its time.
- Read, read, read!
While this can be the same as with the first tip, they're different in important ways. Building up your vocabulary is an exercise that deals specifically with understanding what the words mean. Reading on a regular basis helps you improve your reading comprehensions, speed and critical thinking. Challenge yourself with some tough reads every now and then because the SAT will do that.
As you read and read, you will notice that you’ll somehow pick up the pace. Practice reading with a timer. Practice active reading by asking yourself questions about the passage. Do you hate the sound of that? It's ok, you can read for fun each day but time yourself only once a week.
- Write as much as you read
After you’re done reading, summarize the text using your own words or using words that you’ve recently learned through improving your vocabulary. If you’re in no mood to read, try writing random things that are valid. The point is not to retell a story but to improve the way you write.
Drag yourself away from the temptation of writing something extremely long and try to practice writing concise essays. Get the message across without having to confuse your reader. Also try to write unbiased essays, base things on facts and not on opinions.
- Jot Down Important Math Formulas and Theorems
There is a lot of math on the SAT and many people try to cram in years of math classes into a few weeks of studying; it's like cramming an elephant through doggy door. How do you remember years of math for one test? A good way to do this is by keeping an index card filled with formulas and update it as often as possible. If you think you'll lose the index card, write the formulas on a board in your room or keep them on a document in your computer.
- Take practice tests
Take advantage of the power of the internet and use all the amazing and FREE practice tests that there are out there.
There are dozens of practice SAT tests, they may not contain the questions your actual SAT test would give but this can be a way for you to assess yourself and practice. The more practice tests you take, the more types of questions you are exposed to, the more prepared you are for the exam.
- Notice your results
You don't need to calculate your actual SAT score to track your results. Sometimes just tracking the number of questions you get right is a good place to start.
Constant exposure to things that allow you to improve is a way to test yourself. In what area do you find yourself getting frustrated most of the time? What can you do to improve on this? How may you be able to apply what you can do?
- Practice and Study Smart
It’s not enough that you practice and study, you have to do so in a way that produces good balance. Improving your SAT scores can be a lot of stress but then again, all stressors can be avoided if you find the right methods to do so. One way to practice and study smart is by picking the best time to do all these things.
You might think that stocking up information on top of information is a good way to retain knowledge but that’s just another way of losing it. Study and practice for short periods of time. Maybe do math for 20 minutes and reading for another 20 minutes and then take a break. Do this in cycles. This is not “multitasking” but balancing. Your brain is powerful, but overworking it may produce an opposite result.
Other tips regarding this are: working early morning instead of late at night, finding your hustle-time and working within that time frame, always staying hydrated and other practices depending on your preference. What works for others may not work for you, the idea is to create a routine that creates a balance in order to avoid getting your mind overworked with all the exercise going on.
- Set a Goal
The best way to keep yourself on the run and not on your couch is to keep a goal in mind. Target score? Target average? Inspiration is your best friend.
- Join a Study Group
While this may not be what you prefer, study groups can be a lot more helpful than you think. They can help remind you of your goal, and encourage you to study more often. Study groups are also good for discussing the questions you may not be able to address on your own.
Finally, breathe in and breathe out. The benefit of a doubt may not be helpful here but remind yourself to live still amidst the pressure. At least, be your own motivator. You’re going to improve!