Useful Ways to Prepare for the SAT

Preparation for the SAT is important for many high school students. This exam plays a major role in gaining admission to a desired college. For many students, the pressure to do well on this exam can cause stress and anxiety. However, proper preparation can relieve some of this stress. There are several valuable strategies that can help any student prepare for the SAT.

Take Practice Tests

Taking practice tests can help students prepare for the SAT. This strategy helps to improve test-taking “endurance” and pacing. This also gives students an opportunity to become more familiar with the different sections of the test. Practice tests can relieve pressure by helping the student realize what to expect on the actual exam.

Study New Vocabulary

Studying vocabulary is an important way to increase an SAT score. Expanding the vocabulary can help greatly on the sentence completion questions. This will also help with the critical reading section and reading comprehension. Most of the questions will be easier to answer when the student knows what most of the complicated words mean.

Write Practice Essays

Writing several practice essays can help the student plan, write, and proofread the written essay smoothly. The required essay is typically the first section of the test and is 25 minutes long. Writing practice essays can help familiarize the student with the process. Having a clear-cut plan for reading the prompt, brainstorming ideas, creating an outline, writing the essay, and proofreading can save time.

Practice Reading

Reading is important for the comprehension section. Practice reading material on unfamiliar subjects and attempt to identify the argument. This can improve reading skills. More importantly, this can help increase the score on the critical reading section.

Using the Calculator

Practice using a calculator while preparing for the test. This helps with typing complex equations like [(17 + 39)/4]^6. Not only can this save time, this makes typing those equations second nature on test day. The ability to use the calculator’s shortcuts can make life a little easier and help boost the score on the math section.

The Test Score

When the test is completed, the student receives a “raw” score. However, this score is then converted (on a 200-800 scale) using a statistical process known as equating. This process makes it possible to evaluate test takers who take different versions of the test. As of 2012, the average scores were:

Critical Reading: 496
Mathematics: 514
Writing: 488

It is important to remember to stay calm and use proper pacing when taking the SAT exam. Although the pressure to do well on this exam is high, most students find that it is not that difficult with proper preparation.