Unsure about how to prepare for the SAT? Here is some insight from a former student:

Are you nervous about taking the SAT? When I began my junior year, my teachers and administrators flooded me with tons of information regarding the SAT. I remember walking into Barnes and Noble and seeing a huge 4-inch wide book with “S.A.T. EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW” in big block letters printed on its bindings. Anxiety pulsed through my veins, and I thought to myself: do I really need that? In reality, when students begin their junior year, it’s normal to already feel stressed about upcoming tests and application deadlines. But, there are some things you should know that will help you better understand the SAT and how to prepare. 

To better understand the SAT and how to prepare, you must first understand that the test is timed. You get 3 hours to take the SAT, with 15 minute breaks mixed in. Within those 3 hours, you want to answer as many questions as possible. It is important to remember that you can skip difficult questions and work on them later. Move on to simpler questions first. This leads us to another strategy I learned before taking the SAT; practice makes perfect.

My teachers prepared me with several practice exams. This helped me better understand the different areas of the SAT, such as reading, writing and language, math, and the optional essay portion. Taking a practice exam is important because you won’t go into the test blind. You will know what types of questions will take you a long time, and what types of questions will take you a short time. When it comes down to a time-crunch, this is crucial because you will learn to skip and go back to the questions you find difficult. By taking practice tests, you develop an eagle eye for what is what. 

If you are close to taking the SAT and your teachers aren’t preparing you as much as you would like, you can access practice tests on your own. These practice tests are available through The College Board. After you take the practice tests and you get a raw score, you can figure out what your real SAT score would have been by using this scoring chart. This is definitely useful when it comes to seeing how you will test, and you can aim for a higher score each time! 

If you feel that practice tests aren’t enough, Boston Tutoring Services’s tutors have outstanding credentials in preparing students for the SAT tests, including top scores on these tests. Through one-on-one instruction, students will learn how they can make the most of their time, and answer the questions with a deeper understanding of how the test is constructed. You can find a list of tutors specializing in SAT prep here. 

It is also important to remember that you can take the SAT multiple times. The College Board allows you to send whichever score you wish to colleges when you apply. Through my own experience, the score of my first exam was higher than my score the second time around. It was a relief knowing that  rather than trashing my first score and going with my second automatically, I could stick with my first score and send that to schools.

Now that you better understand the test and things you can do to prepare, you are sure to do well on it. Good luck!

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