How to Prepare for the SAT

As a test originally developed to remove test bias that existed between people from different socio-economic backgrounds, SAT is now primarily known as one of the criteria used by colleges and universities to determine student admission. The SAT scores of students are usually used as a gauge or measure for the quality of a school in terms of student selectivity. To ensure a good SAT score, students should know how to prepare for the SAT.

Featured Programs

1. Kaplan University (BS)
2. International Academy of Design and Technology (BS)
3. Rasmussen College (Associate's)

History

SAT was developed by Carl Brigham. The acronym originally stood for the Scholastic Aptitude Test but was later changed to Scholastic Assessment Test when its ability to function as an intelligence test was questioned. It later became known as SAT I: Reasoning Test with the letters having no specific meaning. The latest renaming of the test resulted to the dropping of the Roman numeral. The test is now officially known as the SAT Reasoning Test which consists of three (3) scoring categories including Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing.

Although some colleges and universities do not include SAT scores as an admission requirement, majority of educational institutions still do. Because of this fact, preparing for the test is highly encouraged. More than just an admission requirement, high SAT scores can allow students to earn scholarships or be exempted from specific college courses.

Format and Scoring Process

Each of the three sections will be scored on a point scale ranging from 200 to 800 thereby producing a perfect total score of 2400. The test also includes a 25-minute experimental section which will not count towards the over-all score. The average total score of previous test takers is placed at 1500.

Test takers are given a total of three hours and forty-five minutes to finish the test. The total time is broken down as follows: six 25-minute sections for Math, Reading and Writing; two 20-minute sections for Math, Reading and Writing: one 10-minute section for Writing (Multiple Choice); one 25-minute section for Writing Essay. A 25-minute experimental section is added to the exam for the purpose of trying out new questions for possible use in future examinations as determined by the College Board.

Preparing for the Exams

The SAT is typically taken during the spring of junior high school. For repeat test takers, the usual time will be during the fall semester of senior year in high school. Most students take the exam not more than twice. The score for every attempt is generally considered by colleges and universities. Every educational institution provides a certain number to represent their respective acceptable scores for admission. It should be noted that there are other factors considered in determining student admissibility such as GPA, course load, class rank, and letters of recommendation.

In preparing for the exams, it helps to understand that there are no specific questions to study for, just practice questions that more or less approximate the actual test questions. Taking the preliminary SAT can provide a better understanding of the type of questions, format, time limit, and the pressure expected from the actual SAT Reasoning Test. Maintaining a healthy state of body and mind must form a large part of the preparation before the test. All studying will prove futile when body and mind fails to cooperate during the exam day. A good night sleep before the exam date is essential.

Featured Programs

1. Kaplan University (BS)
2. International Academy of Design and Technology (BS)
3. Rasmussen College (Associate's)

During the testing day itself, it is necessary to check in early so as not to add to the pressure. A sensible breakfast is also in order. A trip to the restroom should be done before the exam starts and during breaks when necessary. Test takers should not waste time by answering the easy ones first and tackling the difficult ones last but care should be taken not to leave anything unanswered. Lastly, efforts should be taken not to lose track of time and to proceed with careful attention to every set of questions. And that is how to prepare for the SAT.