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Preparing for the SAT

September 17, 2012

Need to prepare for the SAT? Learn about the different ways to prepare for the SATs.

If you are planning to go to college, chances are you will take the SAT at least once during your academic career.  Widely recognized as an accurate assessment of students’ academic readiness for college, it is a requirement for admission to nearly every college and university in the United States.

Because the SAT measures what you are already learning in school, the best way to make sure you are prepared is to study hard and earn good grades.  However, like any other exam, it is important to review the material that will be covered, familiarize yourself with the exam format and practice. 

With so much at stake, it is a good idea to begin preparing for the SAT two to three months before the exam.  If you are planning to take the SAT, there are several ways you can make sure you’re ready on the day of the test.

Take Advantage of Study Materials
There are a variety of study materials available that can help you prepare for the SAT, including study guides, sample questions, practice exams and software.  These materials will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, so you can focus your preparation on areas where you need to improve.

Enroll in an SAT Prep Class
If you need a little extra push that study materials can’t provide, an SAT prep course might be the answer you’re looking for.  These instructor-led classes will teach you effective test taking strategies and provide a review of the material that will be covered on the SAT exam.  Classes are usually about six to eight weeks long and provide a structured environment that holds you accountable for learning the information necessary to succeed. 

Hire a Private Tutor
If you need more individualized attention than a group class can provide, a tutor can help. Working with a private tutor offers the structure you need to study effectively for the exam.  But because your tutor isn’t teaching a classroom full of students, you can work at your own pace and focus on areas where you need the most improvement.  Your tutor will also provide encouragement to help you stay focused on preparing for the exam, so you can maximize your score.

Take the PSAT
The PSAT is a practice version of the SAT that gives you an opportunity to take a full-length exam in a test setting.  PSAT scores are not used by college and university officials to make admission decisions, but the exam is a great way for you to practice for the SAT and qualify for scholarships.  You can use your scores on the PSAT to identify areas for improvement before you take the SAT.  Many high schools offer the PSAT in the fall.  Check with officials at your high school to find out if they will be administering the PSAT.

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