I recently took the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) at Cornerstone High School. In preparation, I received several pieces of advice from those who have already taken the test. Now, I want to supply some tips to assist other students who are preparing to take their test.
The SAT is a mandatory test to qualify for enrollment in colleges and an important step in making oneself wanted by schools. A high SAT score can spark an admissions officer’s interest and compensate for other weaknesses in GPA or extracurriculars. It’s imperative to be prepared.
First, you need to take a SAT practice test, whether you buy one or you take the PSAT at your school, it is extremely important that you be aware of the kind of material that will be on the test, as well as what you need to do to complete the test in the allotted time.
It’s important to take the practice test seriously. In doing so, it will be more effective in preparing for the real exam. I suggest going into a quiet room, setting up the supplies you’ll be using on the real exam, setting a timer for each section and trying to complete each practice section before the time is up. This will help you to learn how to manage your time so you can avoid running out of time when taking the actual test.
During the actual test, there was a lot of stress about not knowing how much time was left or if I was going at a good pace. If I had done more timed practice, those thoughts would not have been as prevalent.
Another way to help is to thoroughly know the materials that will be on the test. For the math section, you should know the basics of geometry through a small portion of pre-calculus. Reviewing old geometry homework assignments and notes that you may still have will help you understand some basic concepts of sections of geometry you may have forgotten.
On the practice test, I did not know a lot of the geometry material well enough to feel confident, so I looked back through my friend’s textbook for the types of problems I was confused about. This was extremely helpful during the test because when I encountered one of the problems I had recently reviewed, I felt much more comfortable and confident in my ability to answer it correctly.
A tip I have for the reading section of the test is to read the question first. Many of the questions ask about specific lines or parts of the passage that you would have to go back to anyway. Instead of reading the passage and then the questions, read the question and if it references to say line 12, only read line 12 to answer the question. Doing this will save a lot of time overall and prevent reading the passage over and over again due to forgetting the contents.
A good portion of the passages used on the test use language that may be more difficult to understand than the common English we see every day, so reading the passage as a whole might not even help. If you read the whole passage, you will spend a lot of time trying to decipher its meaning and may waste time trying to read something that is not even relevant to answering the question.
Since the SAT is important in the college admissions process, it is also important that students know what they need to accomplish on the test to achieve acceptance to their choice school. Achieving the average score for a specific college will not guarantee acceptance but it is important to get a score that will keep you competitive with other applicants. If your college of choice averages a score of 1200, you should prepare yourself enough to be able to obtain that score, or even higher, putting yourself on the right course to become a student at your dream school.
Although on the journey through the school system each student will encounter countless amounts of tests and assessments, none seem as crucial to the process after high school as the SAT. Taking this test is a huge moment in a student’s educational career and should be prepared for thoroughly because it can determine a lot in the future of a student at college and elsewhere.