Never is it too late to start studying for the mandatory SAT test. Colleges take these scores to reflect where you are academically. Based on your score, along with many other factors like your transcript and extracurriculars, they will either accept or reject. This is why studying for the SAT is mandatory, great colleges want great scores. Here are few ways you can study smart.
1. Make a study plan
When deciding to start SAT prep, a study plan is always the best way to start. By making a plan, you are making the commitment to achieve your goals of getting a high score. You should try to plan to study at least 3 times a week for an hour each day. The more frequently you plan to study the better. Write the dates you will study in a planner along with the amount of time you plan to study each day. Then for each day, choose to study one subject, either math or reading, and write it down. Planning ahead to study one SAT subject a day will help you focus on mastering the concepts instead of scrambling from one subject to another. The last step of your plan is to write where you will study. It is important to choose quiet places, like the library or your desk at home.
2. Put your 100% focus on studying
That means no distractions This may seem completely obvious, but sometimes this concept can get overlooked. Never listen to music with active lyrics while studying. Your attention will be diverted to the lyrics, and not to your prep book. Instrumental music is okay if it keeps you motivated. For your planned study time, turn off your phone. Keeping your cell phone next to you is tempting. You may end up mindlessly scrolling through social media, or using it when you get a text from your friends. Next thing you know, you have wasted half of your mandatory study time.
3. Review the questions/concepts that you may have missed in the math section
When studying the math section, you do not need to reread your entire Algebra II textbook. Chances are you just need a refresher of math concepts from Geometry, Trigonometry, and Algebra. Practicing math problems in SAT prep books or Khan Academy are the best materials to relearn math concepts. If you are stuck or get a question wrong, watch a video or ask an adult on how to do the problem. Then make sure you review a problem just like that the next time you study.
4. Learn how to actively read for the Reading Section of the test
Make notes after each paragraph you read. Figure out the theme, the tone of the passage, and the narrator. Identify figurative languages like personification, metaphors, and analogies. Figure out the emotions in the passage. Doing so will make the questions for reading comprehension much easier.
5. Look at the questions before you read the passage
For example, if you see a question that tells you to refer back to a line, go to the line in the passage and put the number of the question next to it. For general questions, looking over them will give you a brief understanding of what you are looking for while you read. These methods save time.
6. Answer the questions in your head before looking at the choices
For the Writing and Language/Reading portion of the test, look at the questions and answer them in your head before looking at the answer choices. That way you will not second guess yourself. The SAT has a way of confusing the common test taker with answer choices, eventually wasting time. This method will also give you a chance to use the process of elimination for answers that you know are completely incorrect.
7. Take as many practice tests as you can
Take as many practice tests as you can, for every question you get wrong, make sure you learn from your mistakes The more practice you have the better. I suggest at least 3 months of active studying before taking your test. Remember you can always retake the SAT as many times as you would like. Good luck!