Oh man…my SAT is in a month’s time and I haven’t started preparing for it. In addition to my normal school work, extracurricular and the hundred other things I have to do, how am I supposed to even start preparing for perhaps one of the most important tests in my life? Unsurprisingly, with most of the SAT dates during the school term, albeit during a Saturday, many students see the SAT as another enormous challenge placed smack center amidst all the other commitments they already have. Many of these high school students are already barely sleeping 6 hours and are stressed out from trying to achieve high exam scores/class rankings.
Preparing for the SAT thus seems like an additional insurmountable challenge, where you face off thousands of students from all over the country who will contribute to your eventual score and ranking. Sometimes, the seeming difficulty of the SAT causes students to put off preparing for it till much later because “it just seems too hard and tiring to start right now”. Yet, taking a daily approach for the SAT is probably the best thing you can do to prepare for it!
Make it a point not to take days off! This is the first most important thing you have to take note of! Even if you only have 10 minutes on the bus or right before you fall asleep, study 10 new vocabulary words everyday and that tiny bit of work every single day will add up to a great deal in the long run.
[Continue reading to find out how to prepare daily for the SAT…]
Wait, what??? 10 multiplied by 0 isn’t 10… 0! Grrr, and the value 8 wasn’t the radius but the diameter. How did I forget to divide it by 2 before using it in my calculations?? I could have improved my score by so much if I hadn’t made those mistakes… Have you ever been careless on a test? I know I have. If you have too, this post is definitely for you.
“Carelessness” is a condition that people have faced multiple times during test taking and has become a term commonly bandied about. I have often heard friends, and even myself, often say, “if only I had been less careless, I would have gotten a much higher score”. Moreover, the SAT is one test in which being careless and getting a question wrong will penalize the test-taker and cause points to be deducted from your score. Well, being more vigilant is not an unachievable dream. In fact, with a few crucial strategies and test-taking habits, we can all be a lot less careless.
[Continue reading to find out how to avoid careless mistakes on the SAT…]
Although seemingly innocuous, one of the biggest problems everyone faces is anxiety. Multiple students have told me that even though they have done as much preparation as possible, they are still overwhelmed by feelings of stress and anxiety on the night before the SAT. Although they are often told by their parents, teachers and SAT tutors to relax and rest early on that night, many students are often eaten alive by worrying thoughts: What if the three alarms I’ve set don’t work tomorrow? What if I can’t remember anything I’ve memorized come tomorrow? What if I have no idea what the essay question is asking me? What if there are really difficult vocabulary words? What if…? Sometimes, these thoughts force students into insomnia and keep them up till the wee hours of the morning, hurting their performance during the actual SAT.
[Continue reading to find out how to deal with SAT anxiety…]
I remember looking at the handful of SAT test dates that one can take during a year and worrying about, firstly, how I could fit in more studying and test-taking around my already-packed high school schedule and, secondly, which date would be most advantageous to me given that I would be bell-curved against the other students taking it on that date. Advice such as “June is terrible because every other student will be taking it during summer” or “October is when all the smart kids sit for the SAT” and “December is definitely the best month because the smart ones would not have left it to the last minute so only the average ones will take it then” often inundated already stressed out high school students. Yet, was there really any truth in choosing test dates strategically to gain a testing advantage?
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One of the tough decisions that a high school student has to make is whether to take the SAT or the ACT. Each has its advantages and disadvantages from the perspective of the test taker, but which one should you take? We will break things down into a few different considerations, but first, let’s take a look at the back-stories.
Introduced in 1901, the SAT is the older of the two exams. It has gone through several iterations since its inception, from open-ended essay questions on a range of topics (including English, math, physics, chemistry, and foreign languages) to the current format of three multiple-choice sections on math, reading, and writing. The ACT was first administered in 1959, and in terms of subjects tested, the test has remained substantially unchanged through the years. An optional writing section was added in 2005 to the existing sections on English, math, reading, and science.
[Continue reading for a detailed comparison and our recommendation]