5 Essential SAT Tips for High School Seniors

Between homework, extracurricular activities, working and maintaining your social life, preparing for the SATs can feel a little overwhelming – especially since a standardized test, like the SATs, can have such an impact on your future. But don’t let the pressure get to you; we’re here to help! We have gathered, assessed and organized 5 essential tips for high school seniors designed to help you feel more confident and prepared to take on the SATs.

5 SAT Tips for Success

1. Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Prepare and Practice

Taking the initiative to start preparing and practicing early can set you up for success when it comes time to take the biggest exam of your pre-college career. The Scholastic Assessment Test, better known as the SAT, is a critical opportunity to demonstrate your skills and knowledge on various subjects, including: literature, math and, of course, your essay.

I’m sure you have heard the phrase, practice makes perfect; well, it couldn’t ring more true when preparing for the SATs. One of the best ways to feel and be prepared on the day of your test is to practice writing short essays (especially since its worth 25% of your SAT writing score), and to challenge yourself to read outside of the classroom.

Many students have also found success with the official SAT College Board website. The website is a home to:

  • Question of the day
  • Sample practice questions
  • A practice test and tutorials from Khan Academy
  • Affordable practice methods
    • The Official SAT Study Guide
    • The Official Online Course

With the right amount of practice and the use of reputable resources, like Kahn Academy, you can start to feel more confident, prepared and at ease when it comes time to sit down and conquer the SATs.

2. Don’t Ignore the Questions You Got Wrong on Your Practice Test

When you come across a question you’re unsure of, or can’t answer altogether, don’t give up. Eliminate the answer for now and use it to your advantage later so you can be fully prepared to answer related questions on the actual test. The practice test is your golden opportunity to assess your strengths and weaknesses – especially if you study and review the challenging questions thoroughly.

3. Use the Princeton Review and Barrons to Your Advantage

Resources like the Princeton Review offer highly-effective prep options that can help you get the results that you need to get into your top-choice schools. Here are a couple of advantages you can expect to gain when preparing for the SATs with the Princeton Review:

  • Private tutoring courses
  • Fundamental courses
  • Honors

All three options are effective ways of assessing your current skill set and exceeding your goals for the standardized test.

4. What You Can Expect on the SAT

Are you feeling anxious about the length of the test or the amount of questions on each section? Well, don’t worry too much because the layout and timing of the test isn’t exactly a mystery. According to College Board, the SAT is made up of ten different sections, including:

  • A 25-minute essay
  • Six 25-minute sections (mathematics, critical reading and writing)
  • Two 20-minute sections (mathematics, critical reading and writing)
  • A 10-minute multiple-choice writing section
    • Total test time: 3 hours and 45 minutes.

With an understanding of how the timing breaks down for each section, you should know exactly where you should focus your attention, and what areas you may need extra practice time on. Better yet, you have timed goals to work toward. So, for example, if you’ve been struggling with essay writing, practice writing short essays while timing yourself and evaluating for quality. Once you’re confident you can craft a solid essay in under 25 minutes, you’ll know you’re ready for that portion of the test.

5. The Night Before the SATs

Leading up to the morning of the SATs, be sure that you are eating a well-balanced diet and that you get plenty of exercise before the test. When you maintain a healthy, balanced diet and are staying active, you will continue to boost your energy levels overtime, which will help you stay focused and alert when it comes time to take your test.

Instead of cramming the night before, try relaxing with a yoga class and get plenty of sleep. Don’t forget to set your alarm so you have plenty of time to get ready, eat a healthy breakfast and arrive early to your exam.

Test Day Checklist

What you bring to the SATs is critical, so be sure that you pack the night before so you can avoid feeling disorganized the morning of your test.

Here is what you need to bring to the test:

  • Your admission ticket
  • Two no. 2 pencils,
  • Photo ID
  • Acceptable calculator: graphing or scientific
  • Snacks or a drink for your break

What not to bring to the test:

  • Your cell phone or other smart devices
  • Your laptop
  • Cameras or recording audio

With these 5 essential tips in mind, you will feel more confident and ready for your test! Don’t forget to find a healthy balance between studying and preparing for your SATs and enjoying your senior year. Your academics are highly important and valuable, especially to the future of your career, but it’s important that you find a balance between your academics, extracurriculars and your social and family life.