Rick Cochran, President & CEO of CollegeChoiceToday
Regardless of how hard you’ve worked throughout high school, and despite all your extra-curricular success, you will still have to tackle one of the most challenging pieces of the college admission process—the SAT. The SAT is a 3 hour 50 minute exam, including an optional essay which takes 50 minutes, consisting of five sections: Reading, Writing, Math (with calculator), Math (no calculator), and Essay (optional).
The New SAT tests exactly the same material as the ACT – the same math rules, the same grammar rules, and the same comprehension concepts. The formats of the different sections are practically identical. But there are two key differences between these tests: the SAT gives you more time per problem, and it doesn’t contain a science section. That means you need to study fewer strategies to prepare sufficiently, and you’ll have a much more relaxing testing experience.
College Choice Today has outlined some key strategies to help you prep for the SAT and maximize your score.
College Board does not deduct any points for an incorrect question. This means that you should not leave any questions blank on the test. Mastering pacing and timing will therefore prove to be critical. In the new version of the SAT, the scoring model has become more complex, providing a more detailed analysis and breakdown of students’ scores.
Area scores, each scored out of 800, are combined to create a composite score for a maximum possible score of 1600.
What are the most effective SAT study methods? It all starts with motivation. Most research and experts agree that your commitment level plays a huge factor the success of your SAT prep. To begin, set out with a specific goal in mind. Many colleges and scholarships alike set a minimum score threshold in order to sort potential candidates out of the running. Set a target score, and motivate yourself to work toward that target.
Take an SAT Prep Course
As Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher of Princeton Review explained, “If you can defuse frenzy around the test and make students feel confident about being a test taker, they are already going to be a success.” Prepping for the test will increase your knowledge base and confidence level and signing up for a prep course provides you with the tools you need to maximize your score.
Taking prep tests will help you memorize the instructions to each section ahead of time. The sequence of the sections and the directions for each section will be the same for every SAT, so time that you spend trying to understand the instructions on test day is time wasted.
Amazing tips for Math Prep
- Mental Math: You will have to tackle half the math section without a calculator, which means you should practice some mental math. You’ll save a lot of time multiplying relatively simple numbers like 3×13, 5×16, if you know the answer right off the bat.
- If you’re stuck, try substituting numbers for variables. You can also try plugging in numbers from the answer choices. Start with the middle number. That way, if it doesn’t work, you can strategically choose one that’s higher or lower.
Critical Strategies for Critical Reading
- The Critical Reading test now includes both long and short reading passages. Skim each passage to see what it’s about. Ignore the details upfront, and focus instead on understanding the main point of the passage.
- Tackle the questions that direct you straight to the answer by referring you to a specific line in the passage. If you have time afterward, you can try solving the harder questions.
Winning your Way through Evidence-Based Writing
- There are three types of multiple-choice writing questions on the SAT. The first group, Improving Sentences, tasks you with selecting the correct version – the one that is clearly written and grammatically correct — of an underlined portion of a sentence. For this section, be sure to work on memorizing parts of speech and know how to correctly use punctuation.
- Sentence Error questions ask you to figure out which part of a sentence contains an error. For all of these question types, think about the simplest, clearest way to express an idea. If an answer choice sounds awkward or overly complicated, chances are good that it’s wrong.
- For all the sections, knowing your grammar rules will save you time and help boost your score.
Set yourself up for success on Test Day: The more you do to feel prepared and rested before the SAT, the more you’ll be able to focus on success while taking the test.
- Go to bed early the night before, so you wake up feeling rested.
- Wake up early on Saturday so you have plenty of time to warm up your brain before the SAT starts, and eat a full, healthy breakfast so you’re not distracted by hunger or discomfort during the test.
- You’ll need No. 2 pencils and a calculator to take the test, and you will not be allowed into the test room without a valid photo ID and a printed copy of your SAT test registration.
Now that you’re ready to take on the SAT, it’s time to let College Choice Today help you with the college and career selection process. CollegeChoiceToday’s technology helps you to create a roadmap from college to a rewarding career.
Through straightforward school recommendations based on your location, personality, and choice of major, we can give you the peace of mind and tools to choose a college that makes sense academically, financially and for your personal enrichment. Get started now! Visit our site or call 1-844-412-6224 to learn more.