Introduction on how to study for the SAT
Tutopiya shares the top 10 ways on how to study for the SAT with you. These top 10 10 ways also include useful tips and tools as well as a summarised graphics and a FREE printable lesson plan made by Tutopiya. Continue reading to find them!
The SAT is taken by students that are ready to move to college. There is no age limit to taking the SAT. SAT is well known, a standardized test widely used for college admissions in the United States. It stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test, formerly known as the SAT I and SAT II.
General study tips on how to study for the SAT?
1 – Taking Practice Test AT LEAST twice
Take one fully-timed practice test at the beginning of your studying and a few in between your studying.
Make sure for these fully-timed practice tests, you put yourself in an examination mood, with a timer, no. 2 pencil, calculator, in a well-lit and quiet room. Studying in such an environment will greatly help you adapt to the actual SAT examination mood as you will be used to this environment, lowering the chances of you having a panic attack.
Additionally, it gives you a realistic sense of how the actual SAT examination day may look or feel like. Take note at which parts of the paper you tend to get tired, slow down or have a mental block. It is a 3-hour long paper (if you choose to do without the essay), it is no doubt you will get distracted at some point.
First Practice Test
The purpose of the beginning practice test is to help you become familiar with the format and structure of the paper.
Not only so, after finishing the paper, review the paper again to check the explanations for the questions you got wrong and identify knowledge gaps. Then, you’ll be able to realize your knowledge gaps and work on improving the area by dedicating extra time for the particular area that you are weak in.
Here’s a breakdown on how to study for the SAT. We will also be covering sections on Reading, Writing and Language and Math later on in the article.
Dedicating time for weaker areas
It is normal that we tend to spend more time doing something we already understand, as it evokes a sense of achievement and accomplishment.
But what about the areas that we are weak in? These areas should be where we dedicate more time to. Though it can be demoralizing to not understand or grasp the concept immediately.
However, it will get easier over time, if you spend quality time bridging your gaps for the area.
Taking practice tests in between your studying (not a day before the SATs), is to help you see how much you have improved from the beginning. Likewise, you can also look into which parts you are unsure of and quickly amend some of your mistakes or clarify unclear concepts.
You can take a total of three to four fully-timed practice tests as these practice tests have their benefits such as helping you identify your weak areas so you can spend more time closing up any content or knowledge gaps.
You should refrain from taking a fully-timed practice a day or two before your actual SAT examinations as stressing yourself out before the SAT exam is the last thing you want to do.
2 – How to study for the SAT with a study plan
There is a free lesson plan printable attached below.
After taking your first fully-timed practice and reviewing it, look closely into what you need to spend more time to study or what you are good at.
After spending sufficient time to find your knowledge gaps as well as your strengths, you should plan a detailed study plan and devote sufficient time to work on your weaker areas.
Before the start of every study session, it is best if you set a specific goal for what you wish to achieve. This helps you to stay focused on the goal during your study session and at the same time, this allows you to track your study progress.
You may have to change up your study plan regularly to match your progress.
Lost at how to create a study plan? Tutopiya has a really useful study plan printable for you to use! Download here!
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3 – Have ample rest
Sleep is important, and many people don’t realize that. Sleep helps with learning and memory whereas sleep deprivation can cause you to lose focus and attention easily, making you restless and less efficient in retaining information.
Therefore, make sure the night before your examination, you are not cramming any more information into your head. Drink plenty of water and be well rested for your examination. The SAT paper is at least 3-hours, getting ample rest is very important if you want to be able to sit through the paper.
Even for a normal day of studying, getting ample rest is equally important, as it is scientifically proven, sleep helps improve memory retention, allowing information to be retained over a long period of time. Some research has shown that people who learn before going to sleep (or taking a nap), remember information better in the long run.
4 – Explore study tools
Study tools are extremely helpful for a student to discover their study style. We have some useful study tools and tips for you.
1 – Flashcards, Quizlet
I’m sure many of you know what is a flashcard, it is incredibly useful to memorize specific words or definitions. Quizlet is a digital version of a flashcard! Try it on your mobile now, customize your own set of digital flashcards and bring them on the go!
2 – Mind Maps
This isn’t really a tool, but this is really helpful when you want to summarise a huge topic. It allows you to see a brief overview of everything you have studied. It is also a lot of fun drawing and personalizing your mindmap, try it!
3 – Grammarly
This is an especially useful tool for when you are typing an essay or writing a report, for the SAT Essay, we understand that it is handwritten, but during practice, it is okay to practice your ideation by typing it out, to save on time.
Grammarly helps to fix your mistakes, easy to use and user-friendly. It might even help you improve your grammar over the long term of using!
4 – Google
Google has tools like Google Documents and Google Slides to help you with storing information and sharing them. You can also bring it anywhere you go and edit it offline. You get to see review your work without having to sit in front of your laptop. The old struggles of Microsoft Word!
5 – Office Lens
This is a paper/document scanner application for the phone. Simply take a picture on your phone and you can transpose it into a professional looking piece of document that is easy to the eyes. Have a go at it!
5 – Snacking on brain food
Hoping to retain that information you just studied? Try snacking on some brain food to help improve memory as well as concentration.
1 – Almonds and Walnuts
They help to improve brain health as well as protect brain cells. They are great sources of antioxidant vitamin E, which has been shown to be a powerful brain protector that has been linked to reducing dementia and Alzheimer’s risk.
2 – Berries
Berries have antioxidant compounds that have many positive effects on the brain such as the following:
- Improving communication between brain cells
- Reducing inflammation throughout the body
- Increasing plasticity, which helps brain cells to form new connections, boosting learning and memory
- Reducing or delaying age-related neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline
Antioxidant-rich berries that can help boost brain health include:
3 – Coffee
Coffee is a very well-known concentration aid, as many drink it to stay awake and improve focus.
A 2018 study suggests that caffeine may also increase the brain’s capacity for processing information. Researchers found that caffeine causes an increase in brain entropy, which refers to complex and variable brain activity. When entropy is high, the brain can process more information.
Caffeine can, however, affect a person’s sleep and doctors do not recommend caffeine consumption for everyone.
How to study for the SAT Reading, Writing & Language
6 – Brush up on Reading comprehension
It is important that you learn to skim effectively before you execute this. Reading the entire passage, line by line, may not be the most ideal way to tackle the SAT Reading as it is time consuming and draining. But how do you acquire the skill of skimming the passage and grabbing important information?
You’ll need to put in a lot of time and practice, you can practice reading newspaper articles and your homework reading to slowly learn how to quickly digest a text without having to read word by word.
For reading – some tips
- Learn the types of questions that the SAT tests
- Learn strategies to solve these questions, using the skills you already know
- Practice a lot of questions so you learn from your mistakes
7 – Beef up your grammar and vocabulary
How can you brush up on your grammar and vocabulary? Easy, thanks a lot to the advancement of technology, you can store so much information on your mobile phone now.
When commuting or waiting, you can always whip out your phone to read on some SAT English Guides, learn some more new vocabulary words, or simply refresh your memory on what you learned just a few days ago. These “dead time” can be fully utilized this way!
How to study for the SAT Math
8 – Mental Math
Learn how to do mental math, one of the two sections in the Math paper does not allow you to use a calculator. To prepare for the SAT Math, you just have to simply train your brain to be a mental calculator. Know equations like ‘14 x 6’ at your fingertips, it can help you save a lot of time during the SAT examination.
9 – Understand your mistakes
Do a TON of practice and make the effort to understand every single mistake you make. To be able to do well, you need to make sure that every one of your weak points is covered. You need to be ruthless about understanding your mistakes – this applies to any mistakes you make for Reading or Writing and Language or Essay.
Here’s what you need to do
After taking every practice test or question, mark every question that you are unsure about, even if you are only 20% unsure.
Review every single question when marking your paper. Look out for the incorrect answers or questions you guessed the answer for, make sure you review them again.
On the paper or on your personal notebook for studying, note down these 4 things
- The gist of the question
- Why you missed it
- What you’ll do to avoid the mistake in the future
- Identify the topic
This way you create a detailed and structured approach to your mistakes, you’ll have a list of the questions you mistakes and your reflection on why.
But should you stop here?
No, ask yourself why you missed the question and what is the root problem here. Concept? Misunderstood the question?
Then, further prompt yourself, how do I resolve these problems to refrain myself from making the same mistake again.
If you missed a question, here’s what you should do
10 – Try Again
Yes, try doing the question again before looking or reading the explanation or workings. This is because when you immediately look at the solution, you are not actively engaging with the mistake you make, therefore whatever information you are about to absorb is not going to retain for the long term.
Try finding the correct answer choice, but not read the working or explanation. Now, try to resolve the question again and see if you can get the answer.
This is not easy, but try working it from a different angle, ask yourself, did you miss out a formula you could have used? Is this the correct way or solving? Try exploring the different ways to solve the mathematical question. There’s never one way to solve a math question.
Here’s what happens when you are able to solve the question, what you learned will stick with you for much longer than just reading the answer explanation. It is because, you breakthrough your struggle and engaged with the mistakes.
Infographic in a summarised format
These are some of the ways on how to study for thsat,e SAT.
Truthfully, the experienced teachers and tutors have ways to tackle these components specifically and what’s better than actually having a personal tutor to yourself who can attend to your SAT queries almost immediately?
We understand that the SAT is offered worldwide for students, which is why it can be hard for you to find a suitable tutor in your state. However, for online tuition, it is different. We have tutors all over the world, qualified, trained and highly experienced with the SAT curriculum. Tutopiya has tutors that know their way around the SAT examination and can guide you as you prepare for it.
Looking for more SAT posts/ resources? Tutopiya has a blog post on 5 Crucial Grammar Rules for SAT Writing, read more here!