With this year’s October SAT test date earlier than anticipated, many students and parents are feeling the pressure. Thankfully, Launch Education guest blogger, Karen Berlin Ishii, has provided some full-proof tips on how raise your confidence and scores before October 1st rolls around.
How to prep for the October SAT in less than two months
September and school are looming on the horizon, with the October SATs just beyond. But even if you didn't spend your summer studying, you can still make great gains in your scores. Here's how:
Approach the test with confidence: Your spring SAT scores may be reasonably strong in one or two of the test sections. Great! Colleges will cherry-pick your best scores for each section – Critical Reading, Math and Writing. So focus your studies now on the areas you most need to improve upon. Also, take comfort in the fact that you are nearly a half year older than you were last time you took the test, which often has intangible effects on scores. Many students who studied hard in the spring see their big score improvement in the fall.
Take practice tests: Take full, timed practice tests to build your skills in pacing and identify specific areas to improve on. Take each test in a single sitting, using a pencil and the bubble answer sheets. Turn off cellphones and don't take more than a couple short breaks – make it real! Use the first three tests in the CollegeBoard book of practice tests, if you can, as those are the most recent, real, published SAT tests. Furthering understanding of how questions and answers are formulated, Private SAT tutors can prepare you for any tricky questions.
Don't just score, learn more! Review your errors, analyze your pacing. Review the math for the CollegeBoard tests 4-10 at khanacademy.org/sat, review all answers and explanations for tests 1-3 at ShowMeSAT.com, or use a great book of explanations to all the tests, "Tutor Ted's SAT Solutions Manual." When you find question types that you repeatedly have trouble with, look for more of those questions in other drills and then do lots of them, reviewing answers and explanations after each.
Be physically prepared for test day: So, you're mature and prepped. Now the single most important factor affecting your score is your physical and mental condition on test day. Get a good night's sleep all week before your test so you have energy in reserve if you can't sleep well the night before the test. Have everything ready to go the night before: lots of sharpened #2 pencils, test ticket, ID, calculator and fresh batteries. Wake up a few minutes early on test day and do a couple practice questions in each test section to warm up. Eat a good breakfast, then go to your test with an energizing snack, a sweater, and a watch (so you are in control of your own test pacing).
If you've done this homework, you can walk into your test with confidence, and you can be proud of whatever you achieve as you move on to the next tasks in your studies and your college applications.
by Karen Berlin Ishii
Karen Berlin Ishii, a graduate of Brown University, has more than 25 years' experience as a teacher and test prep tutor. Karen teaches students in New York and internationally for the PSAT, SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, SHSAT and GRE, and also offers tutoring in reading and writing skills, math, and college application essay consulting. Learn more about Karen at www.karenberlinishii.com.