The SAT is more than a test to be studied for. It is an important tool in the progression of a high schooler into college. It is designed to assess a students comprehensive ability to understand and interpret material. It is not designed to be studied for. It is designed to be lived up to. That sounds scary, but if parents and teachers see in their student a desire to do well on the SAT then they should be more focused on preparing themselves and that student for the consequences of the score than on achieving one they think is satisfactory. The best preparation for the SAT is the student’s lifetime of reading, writing and problem solving. Students with a love for learning, especially reading, have the best chance of scoring well and then being prepared for where their scores can take them.
SAT Prep courses are an interesting concept, but are more likely to provide a student with emotional confidence than score boosting mental prowess. No course measured in weeks can make a real dent. Their is no information in the SAT which can be learned. There are only skills. All the information you need to answer the reading section questions will be provided in the reading. For example, there are no critical reading sections which will discuss President’s Reagan’s administration and then expect you to know off the top of your head in what year he was sworn in. The test is about knowing how to find answers within the information you read and then drawing conclusions from it.
Good reading habits are the best preparation. Good writing puts demands on the mind to stretch and reach for comprehension. Literature, poetry, history and science as found in the written word will all develop the skills necesary for the SAT tests. Read for fun. Doing puzzles such as crosswords and sudoku will develop your mental capacity. If you’re looking for last minute preparation tools those puzzles aren’t bad last minute options. They can give you a crash course in concentration and number two pencil use.
If you’re reading this article with the SAT coming up next month or week or tomorrow and feel frustrated by the possibility that you have not prepard yourself with the kind of lifelong learningI’ve described then my advice is even more basic. Calm down and get a few nights good sleep before hand if your schedule can afford it. Most people know more than they think. When you find yourself sitting in front of the test’s brown recycled pages with your freshly sharpened number two pencil, take in the words of the test and look for the common sense answer. The questions are not meant to trick you. And never forget that you can always take it again and colleges only have acces to your highest combined scores. if you didn’t feel comfortable the first time you’ll feel like an expert the second time. If you do better on the math than the reading the first time (or vice versa) you can keep your math score the second time around and try to improve the reading. If you are determined to be comfortable the first time around then find some practice exams online. They won’t necesarliy teach you much, but they’ll let you know the format and the layout beforehand.
Start reading young, calm down when you’re in the test and do not under any circumstances get discouraged by reports of the difficulty of the test. It is a daunting challenge, but you have the combined experience of every conversation you’ve ever had, all the reading you’ve ever done and all the academics you’ve ever been subjected to.