Every Fall, thousands of high school students take standardized tests that will help them get into college. It’s important to know that not all tests are designed the same, nor are they scored the same. With this article we will be addressing the best way to improve study skills to take the four-hour SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test).

When you are prepared, able to remain calm, and comfortable with the test itself, you will do a better job. This requires planning ahead, organization, memory training and improved study skills.

The SAT is utilized to measure your problem solving abilities to find out how you think on your feet. Educators think the score you get on your SAT, along with your grades, are indicators of how well you will do in college. It is not an IQ test!

Educators at the “Academics Plus Tutoring Center” recommend you start your child in the 10th grade, and no later than the 1st semester of their junior year. By starting early you can get a handle on whether your child possesses strong thinking skills, or if those skills need to be fine-tuned.

It also is recommended that the student take the PSAT (Preliminary SAT) test. It is only half the length of the real SAT, but allows a student to get used to taking standardized tests. Experts liken it to a sprint event in preparation for the marathon.

The SAT test is broken down into four sections: critical reading, mathematics, writing, and a variable or equating section. Learning memory techniques and organizational study skills would be a great advantage in being able to cover these topics with ease. It is essential, however, that you PAY ATTENTION to the instructions, as failure to do so will take points away from you. Again, it’s not all about what you know, it’s how you follow direction – the test is about problem solving, not just knowledge.

With the math concepts, especially, it is advantageous to learn memory techniques. Math is all about utilizing formulas in order to obtain your answers. Memory training systems are developed by experts in order to help you put those formulas into action.

In other areas of the test, a course in speed reading would come in handy. Speed Reading involves not only reading faster, but also retaining what you read (comprehension) – a big part of the SAT exam. You want to be able to get through the entire test understand the questions.

With the advent of the Internet, sample SAT tests are easy to find, and utilize. You can also purchase computer programs that walk you through the SAT test in order for you become comfortable with the exam before you take it. Take these practice tests often!

If you are having trouble understanding something, ask your teacher or employ a tutor. To learn study techniques that will be beneficial, get help from memory training expert or memory course.

Get to know how the College Boards score the SAT.

  • Easier questions are at the beginning of the section. Get the easy questions out of the way first and come back to the ones you can’t answer. Also remember, the beginning of each cluster of questions usually have answers that are obvious, while at the end of the cluster – where the questions are more difficult, the obvious answer is probably wrong (trick questions).
  • You get 1 point for every question answered correctly; you get 0 points for any questions you leave blank; you lose 1 point (or 1/3 of a point on certain math questions) for an incorrect answer (However, on the math “fill in your own answer” questions, you will not be penalized for a wrong answer). So, if you don’t know the correct answer right away, move on and come back to it. Putting an incorrect answer will deduct points in all but the math fill-in section.
  • If you are not sure of an answer from a selection, use the process of elimination first. Statistically, if you can eliminate even one of the choices, you have a good chance of getting it right.

In summary, knowing how the test is set up; taking memory and speed reading training in order to learn retention and comprehension; taking practice tests; and understanding the scoring system will all get you prepared for the test. The rest is up to you!

With the proper rest, a good breakfast before the test (no sugar or caffeine) and a few deep breathing exercises to relax – you will ace the SAT!


TutorVista – http://tutorvista.com

Test Prep Review – http://www.testprepreview.com/sat_practice.htm

About.com – Test Scores: http://testprep.about.com/od/tipsfortesting/a/SAT_TestTips.htm

Academics Plus Tutoring Center – http://academicsplus.wordpress.com/2008/02/03/when-should-students-start-preparing-for-the-sat/

eHow Family – How to Ace Your SAT: http://www.ehow.com/how-to_4845394_ace-sat.html