The SAT is an entrance exam created by the College Board to give colleges and universities an idea of where students stand academically for admission purposes. This gives them a way to judge applicants by the same standard. Because the SAT is an important test, studying for it is very important. Most people recommend taking several months to prepare. But not everyone does that. If you are a last-minute studier, there are still a few things you can do to increase your chances of scoring high.
- Five-Minute Preparation Strategy: High school students are busy. Between normal homework and getting ready for college, who has time to study for the SAT? If you can find just a few minutes here and there, then you have time. Memorize some vocabulary words. Memorize a few math formulas. Write an essay, or at least the rough draft. Doing a few of these exercises every day will go a long way in preparing you for the SAT.
- Practice Relaxation Techniques: Even if you've spent months preparing for the test, if you're stressed out and high strung, then your odds of doing well go down. Whether meditation is your thing, or breathing exercises, practice it regularly. Then, when test day arrives and you start to get nervous, you already know how to combat that, and you'll be better able to relax and remember the things you studied.
- Find Your Weaknesses: If you don't have a lot of time to study, then start by practicing what you know you're not good at. Take a practice test, and then look at the ones you missed. Don't just look at the correct answer, but look at the route you took to get to the wrong answer. Then look at the route you should've taken. This is important because you're not just learning one answer at a time, but rather one concept at a time. This will take you much further than just taking practice test after practice test.
- Pay Attention to Time: One concept that is hard but very important to learn is time management. You only have 3 hours and 15 minutes to take the exam, which means that each question should get no more than about a minute. If you find yourself struggling with a question, skip it. Or guess and keep track of which ones to go back to if you have time. You'd hate to reach the end of your time and find that you didn't even have time for the easy questions. Just don't leave any blank because guessing is better than nothing. Taking practice tests and timing yourself is a good way to learn time management.
If you find yourself studying last minute, try these four steps before you do anything else. You'll be glad you did when test day comes and you're relaxed, you've worked out your weaknesses, and you don't run out of time.
For even better chances, consider taking SAT prep courses.