𝐓𝐢𝐩𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩𝐞𝐝 𝐦𝐞 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝟏𝟓𝟎𝟎+𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐦𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐢𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐞𝐬.
Helloo, In these past few months, I've been gathering MANY tips from different posts and persons in Reddit about how I should prepare for the SAT. And since a lot of people DMed me about the reading tips, and that I'll soon take my real SAT, I decided to make a post where I put the 4 tips that REALLY helped me make a difference, and get my dream score.
(𝟭) 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗱𝘂𝗹𝗲 𝗯𝘆 𝘂/𝗗𝗿𝗥𝗼𝗴𝗲𝗿𝟭𝟵𝟲𝟬
My suggested schedule - start now, work at a steady pace, and use good resources.
Textbook companies with a large number of prep products (such as Princeton Review and Kaplan) are not highly recommended
My personal biases include taking one practice test every week or two (full test, timed, at a desk, no cell phone, no music, no pet at your feet, no snacks or even drinks except during the breaks, bubbling in your answers - as realistic as possible). After the test, study your errors and redo those questions later that day and each of the next three days, plus a week later and two weeks later. In between tests, study and prepare using the other resources listed above. I like using either Khan or UWorld for practice, and many people should consider Panda or Erica's books for more organized study. If you have trouble figuring out the practice test questions, look at 1600.io for English and for math, or look at Dr. Roger's Math Neighborhood (my videos) for math.
In terms of a schedule, one or more hours a day alternating between English and math, with the English alternating between reading and writing is a good basic plan. If you want to put more hours into it, do two or even four hours of study each day - reading followed by math in the morning, or writing followed by math in the afternoon, or both.
- Do not spend a week writing a beautiful, color-coded study plan for the next ten weeks. Those plans never seen to last very long before they have to be revised at the cost of a whole lot more planning time.
- Do not do all of the reading first and then all of your writing second, and all of your math last. Mix it up and study all three topics each week, but when possible spend at least one hour on English or one hour on math for each study session.
(𝟮) 𝗚𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗧𝗶𝗽𝘀 𝗯𝘆 𝘂/𝘄𝗲𝗶𝘆𝘂𝘂𝘂
I've taken the SAT twice, and my scores are 1560 (800 math/760 english) and 1590 (800 math/790 english), so here are some of my tips! (also, i only retook it because i really bombed the essay.)
— practice: there are tons of amazing resources not only on this subreddit, but also on various free prep sites like khan academy. before i took the test, i think i did every single past exam graded on the 1600-point scale i could find online, including the international versions.
— figure out your weaknesses: after you do a practice test or practice questions, go through and check your answers. on a separate piece of paper, mark down what concepts (for math) and types of questions (for english) that you've gotten wrong. if you've gotten multiple wrong of one type/concept, then make sure to study it thoroughly before taking another practice test.
— how to check answers: when checking practice tests, don't mark down on your paper what the correct choice was. when you go back and review what you did wrong, try to figure out what the correct answer should be without looking at the answer key. this will help you think about the question more thoroughly and hopefully will help with your thought process for similar questions in the future!
— remember that the SAT is an OBJECTIVE test: in order to mass grade the scores of hundreds of thousands of students on a single exam, the collegeboard has to have an objective reason behind every single answer. don't let yourself get affected by emotions or individual perspectives, and answer the questions from a purely objective point of view. when picking an answer, always ask yourself if it answers the question from an impartial perspective.
— don't use outside knowledge: the SAT is a test that has questions that should be able to be answered without outside knowledge of a topic (this is mainly for english reading passages). when answering reading analysis questions, don't bother bringing what you learned in history class or from that wikipedia article into it. read the passage with a fresh mind and don't be affected by personal bias.
— keep moving: if you're stuck on a question, just move on. mark it on the side so you remember to come back to it if you have time, but if you don't, just pick a random answer. the sat is just as much skill as it is time management, so it's super important to keep moving. it's not worth it to spend too much time on a single question and then have less time to finish the rest of the test.
— don't look at the answers first: always try to read the questions alone and answer them first before looking at the multiple choice options. this is really important for both english and math, but it's really important that you try to come up with your own answer to the english questions before looking at the answer choices. reading the answer choices first can result in them impacting your thinking, making it more difficult for you to answer the question objectively.
— general math tips: underline the important parts of questions, and make sure to keep track of units. if you don't know how to do something, don't panic - see if there are any parts of the question that can relate to concepts that you've learned before, and try to make an educated guess off of what you do know.
general english tips:
— always read the description before passages
— read through the questions (but not the answer choices) before you read through the actual text.
— annotate your passages (i liked to mark down quote lines with brackets and label them 32A, 32B, 32C, etc.)
— for paired questions, try to link answer choices between the two before picking answers for both. for example, see if the quote in 32B supports 31D, and mark that those two go together.
— for big picture questions, i always preferred to answer the rest of the questions for the passage first before going back and answering them. i found that answering the other questions first helps you understand the passage better as a whole, which makes the big picture questions a lot easier!
i hope this helped!
(𝟯) 𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗶𝗽𝘀 𝗯𝘆 𝘂/𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿
At the bottom of this long response are links to my FREE ebooks and website that have suggestions for helping with the "best evidence" questions.
As a Reading Tutor for over 20 years, I would suggest starting by improving your reading skills in general. You can do this with intentional practice. Read regularly and aim for comprehension first, speed second. The better you get the faster you will also get.
- Start with Short Stories/ novellas and Science Articles and work up to Historical speeches and articles which will be more challenging(list below)
- Read 1 story/article a day
- Make a list of unfamiliar words and try to understand what they mean in context and find a definition that works in context. This will help you expand your vocabulary
- Write a short summary of the Main Idea and key plot points or information points. This will train your brain to read for content.
- Check your comprehension with someone else. You can buddy up with a fellow SAT pepper or get some help from a strong reader.
- As you get better, aim for a reading speed of 250 words per minute or faster.
Periodicals (many magazines with subscriptions will allow you to read 3-5 articles a month, and if you live somewhere with a library system with magazine subscriptions you can read for free)
New York Times
Science Magazine (AAAS)
The New Yorker
Speeches for Global Conversation Practice (https://www.artofmanliness.com/.../the-35-greatest.../)
I have 2 free e-books for International students to help them with the SAT Reading.
Guide to SAT Reading: Global Conversation Passages (History) (https://dl.bookfunnel.com/94ks4x99u4)
Guide to SAT Reading: Literature Passages (Fiction) (https://books2read.com/SATLiterature)
Additionally, my website has reading tips and information. www.internationaltester.com
𝟰. 𝗣𝗿𝗲𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗘𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗯𝘆 𝘂/𝗰𝗮𝗿𝗹𝗮𝟳𝟵𝟮
I got a 1550 (750 english, 800 math).
I did prep for about 2 months. I started with going through a Kaplan SAT Prep book (to get a better grip of the methods). I also did about 30min of khan academy per day & a full practice test every Saturday morning. The 2 weeks before my Test Day, I went through the book again, but I only did the exercises (to see where I still had weaknesses).
The day before my SAT, I went on Khan Academy and went through every Math subcategory (it took about 4 hours) & also Grammar (another 30min). I’m not sure if that works for everyone; I think a lot of people could just get tired/exhausted the next day if they spend that much time doing prep the day before (CB recommends no more than 30min of prep), but for me it made me feel more secure and confident the next day (for example bc I knew I knew all of the important formulas).
Another important thing is to go through your mistakes and see where they came from (for example, did you forget a “-“ or did you forget a formula etc.). Formulas & methods can be learned, so in that case you knew what you have to work on, if it’s just careless mistakes, you can’t really do a lot except try to focus more. (Same in English, did you miss a comma or did you get a grammar rule wrong). For reading, practice is everything. For me, the more passages I did, the better I got.
Last thing, try not to be too stressed on Test Day. I went there a little nervous, but still confident that I’d do my best. What I noticed is that I was a lot more concentrated on Test Day than I ever was at home during practice (the unfamiliar school location really got me in that “test-taking-headspace”).
(Sorry that it’s so long)
Best of luck everyone!!