How to Prepare for the SAT
If you’ve started thinking about college, you’ve probably heard about admission tests like the SAT. Colleges use test scores to help them make admission decisions. So it makes sense to plan to do your best on the exam. Here are some tips to help you do that.
The Best Way to Prepare
The best way to prepare for the SAT is to work hard both inside and outside the classroom. Take challenging courses, study hard, and read and write as much as you can.
You can take some simple, smart steps to help you put your best foot forward.
Know what to expect. Being familiar with the format of the SAT will help you feel more comfortable on test day. Go to our website and learn about each section or talk to friends or siblings who have already taken it. You’ll feel more confident if you know the test format beforehand, and you can save valuable time during the exam.
Take preliminary tests. The College Board also offers the PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10 or PSAT 8/9 which are meant to be taken before you take the SAT. These preliminary, or introductory, tests make great practice tests because they have the same formats and question types as the SAT. The PSAT/NMSQT can also can qualify you for millions of dollars in scholarships, identify AP Potential, and help create a personalized practice plan for you to prepare for the SAT.
Use our free, personalized practice tools. We partnered with the Khan Academy to create Official SAT Practice, world-class test practice that’s free to all students, so there’s no need to spend a lot of money on test prep courses. It’s personalized just for you to show you where you excel and where you need more work. With thousands of interactive problems, instant feedback, and video lessons, you can prepare for the test and keep track of your progress at satpractice.org.
Take practice tests — for free. You can find free practice exams on our website and at satpractice.org, as well as in study guides in the library, bookstores or your counselor's office. These practice exams can help you discover your strengths and weaknesses and learn to manage your time wisely during the test. Download the SAT Daily Practice app and use our scan and score feature to get your practice test results instantly.
Check your timing. Be sure to time yourself while you are completing practice tests using Official SAT Practice so you can experience real test-day conditions. Admission tests are strictly timed, and their timing is different from regular high school tests. If you find you finished early and got easy questions wrong, slow down and read questions more thoroughly. If you didn’t finish in time, check out the test-taking tips and study aids on the SAT website or ask your school counselor or a teacher for help.
Taking the following steps will help you arrive on time and stay alert during the test.
Get a good night's sleep before the exam. Set out your admission ticket, identification, acceptable calculator, No. 2 pencils and erasers before going to bed. Set your alarm so you wake early enough to have time for a good breakfast.
Know where your test center is located. Print out and review directions in advance. Arrive at the test center early. Leave extra time to get there in case you run into delays.
Bring a snack. Bring something handy to eat during breaks so you can stay focused and sharp.
Be confident. If you’ve been working hard in your classes and practicing for the test, you have what it takes!