Best Advice for How to Study for the SAT

Most experts agree that you need to spend several months preparing for the SAT. So, many students take advantage of the summer to do just that. If your student will be taking the new SAT this fall, he needs to start preparing now.

As a reminder, here are the changes to the new SAT:

  • Two sections: verbal and match
  • The essay section is optional
  • No penalty for wrong answers
  • Focus on relevant vocabulary in context
  • Scored on a scale of 400 to 1600 points – 200-800 for each section

[Related – The New SAT: What You Need to Know]


How to study for the SAT:

  1. Take practice tests. We all know that practice makes perfect, well maybe not perfect in this case, but it certainly helps. There are many practice tests on the College Board website. You can even get a daily app for a question a day. There are also sample study plans to help schedule your time.


  1. how to study for the SATKnow the test structure. The College Board also provides insights into each section including sample questions, the section structure, and what the section measures. Here’s what you need to know about reading, math and writing. Familiarizing yourself with each section will help you prepare for the SAT.


  1. Read. Practice reading articles on unfamiliar subject. Read a few paragraphs, then stop and try to identify the author’s argument. This will help you on the SAT reading comprehension passages, which are usually pretty dull subject matter. Also, read as much as you can over the summer, it doesn’t matter what. Reading in general will help comprehension and vocabulary.


  1. Write practice essays. If you’re planning to do the essay section, you’ll be asked to read a passage and discuss how the author effectively builds an argument. When practicing, focus on the most relevant features of the passage. Essays should not explain whether you agree with the author’s claims, but rather explain how the author builds an argument to persuade his or her audience. See examples on the College Board website.


  1. Memorize rules and formulas. While the SAT will give you some geometry formulas at the beginning of the test, you should still memorize formulas. Make sure to know area formulas, the Pythagorean Theorem, the average formula, special triangle rules, and exponent rules. It will save you precious time.


  1. Use online resources. Khan Academy and the College Board offer plenty of useful information and practice. Take advantage of the free information provided.


[Related – What You Need to Know About SAT Testing]


Helpful test strategies:

  • Always guess. Remember there’s no penalty for wrong answers.
  • Look for wrong answers. Use the process of elimination to cross off answers you know are incorrect. By eliminating one possibility, you’ll still have a 1:3 chance of guessing correctly.
  • Come back to difficult questions. Don’t spend more than a minute trying to figure out a question. Circle any questions that you skip so you can find them when you go back through the section. Lingering on hard questions could cost you easy points if it means you’re not getting to questions later in the section.
  • Use all the space for your essay. Make sure your essay is long and well planned. Try not to leave any space in the margins except for indentations to introduce new paragraphs. Do not skip lines; they could be filled with your point-earning words.


Even with online resources, many students still need dedicated time to focus on SAT preparation and improve their results with individual and personalized help.

We offer SAT (and ACT) test preparation. Your high school student can come for one-on-one tutoring or get together with some friends for some small group sessions. However you like to work, take advantage of summer to get a jump start on fall testing. Summer tutoring is available from June 13 through August 19.

Get ahead this summer and learn how to study for the SAT!


One thought on “Best Advice for How to Study for the SAT

  1. November 2, 2016

    Sarah Smith Reply

    My cousin is trying to prepare for the SAT and needs some help. Taking practice tests seems like a great idea so that you can you can get used to the question formatting. It seems like you should also get help from a place that specializes in SAT prep so that you can be as prepared as possible.

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