Jazzy SAT Tips for the Jittery Junior

One of the most important factors in college admissions decisions is your SAT score, calculated out of 1600. It’s a standardized test that measures your strengths in English, Math, and Essay Writing. Juniors, here are some tips to help you achieve that competitive score you need for your college apps!

  1. Take OFFICIAL practice tests under time constraints. If you’re going to buy a prep book, there’s only ONE you need: The Official SAT Study Guide by College Board. These are 8 past SATs, meaning you can really predict how well you’ll do on your actual exam day based on your performance on these tests. You need to get familiar with the wording of questions in the English section and know which math skills you need to polish up on, and the only way to prepare for this is to take an official past exam. Also, let’s be real – you’re not going to read through every single study tip from Barron’s 1600 or Kaplan SAT Prep book. You’re better off using Khan Academy’s online SAT prep, which is FREE.
  2. Set up a study schedule for four weeks before your SAT exam day and STICK TO IT. Khanacademy.org makes it simple for you – you can organize a study schedule right on there, such as setting the dates and times when you’ll do a few questions on the Reading section or when you’ll do math problems. Set aside a few hours to take an official practice test every Saturday. Don’t give up, because practice makes perfect.
  3. Use khanacademy.org. They provide official practice test questions to prepare for the SAT. The computer even times you when you do short selections, so you don’t have to sit through entire practice tests to get your practice (especially if you’re short on time and only want to study the types of questions that you actually need to practice). Khanacademy will help you determine the skills you’re weak on, and you’ll improve from there! 
  4. For math: focus a lot on quadratics, system of equations, and trigonometry. Knowing how to use a graphing calculator is great for getting quick points on the calculator portion, such as solving system of equations. One way to practice math is to ask your math teacher for help on the official math practice tests. If they’re willing to stay after school to help, you both can go through the test together. Also keep in mind that you need to be able to complete the math section with significant time constraints, as it is with all the other sections of the test, so practice, practice, practice!
  5. For essay: make an outline, and practice making outlines for past essay prompts. You’ll have to analyze the rhetorical devices in a non-fiction passage. If you’re in AP Language and Literature, this is the same format as one of your three AP essays – kill two birds with one stone!