We’ve been through it; a senior gives SAT advice to future test takers
Michael Butts, Senior Editor
Dear juniors, last year I went through the exact same thing that you are going through now. The studying that keeps you awake well into the early morning, the constant stress that looms above your head in nervous anticipation of the exam, the discussing of score goals on college confidential forums, I and the rest of my class have all been there. Having been through the daunting SAT experience last year, it would only be right for us to share our knowledge with the next batch of test takers.
So, I talked to some seniors who excelled on the exam last year and compiled their advice along with some of my own personal experience into a short and simple guide with tips on how to do your best and stay stress-free on test day.
This first tip should be an absolute no brain-er, but quite surprisingly many standardized test takers don’t do this; study! Study after you get done with your homework, study on the weekends, study in the car or on plane rides to visit colleges, study whenever and where ever you can. Although the SAT claims to be simply a test of what you’ve learned in high school for the past couple of years, there is also a large amount of strategy that is required to do well and achieve a decent score.
I highly recommend purchasing The Official SAT Study Guide published by none other than The College Board, the organization that writes the SAT. The study guide outlines the various strategies needed to succeed on the test. It’s worth buying.
Secondly, don’t take the test without a set score goal. Familiarize yourself with the scoring system and ask around about other people’s scores as to predict how you think you should score based on your strengths and weaknesses.
If you took the PSAT at an earlier date, review your score on that exam and set a goal from there. A score between 1500-1600 is generally considered average.
I don’t think it’s smart to take the SAT to just “see what you get.” Although you can take the test many times, don’t slack on your first try just because you know you’re going to take it again. I recall many of my classmates relying on the fact that they will always have another chance.
This is foolish; try your hardest every time. Having a goal from the beginning will spark your motivation and help you to work harder.
Lastly, go into the test with a positive attitude. Pick an inspirational quote to repeat to yourself during testing if you feel nervous or stumped. Have the mindset that you will do well on the exam and you will achieve your goal because if you prepared well enough you will.