Studying for standardized testing is more than a stressful experience for a high school student. Preparing for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) exams does not have to be stressful. Incorporate a few methods of organization to ensure your success when it comes time to take your test.

What do you need to consider when you prepare for the SAT? Besides having a study plan, you might also want to take the SAT practice test. While there is plenty of information about SAT practice, make sure to start your studying journey with the official materials from the College Board.

SAT Practice Test Tips

The College Board has numerous resources for students preparing for the SAT. Many colleges rely on the evaluations from the SAT testing to admit students into programs every year. So take the time to seek relevant information to help you study.

One of the first steps to SAT practice is to gather the necessary items like the practice test, study guides and books. Then, develop a study plan according to your class schedule, extracurricular activities and other testing dates. Generally, you want to start preparing for the SAT at least six months in advance from your test date.

However, you know better than anyone else about your studying patterns. If you need additional help or a mentor to help you through, then consider signing up for a study group. Also, you might benefit from collaborating with other students taking the test or a study buddy. Nevertheless, organizing a study plan, exercising regularly and eating healthy food are also other options to keep you motivated to prepare for the SAT.

SAT Practice Options

Another option to prepare for the SAT is to use the new SAT practice app. You can get the new app at the College Board website, called Daily Practice, for Android or Apple devices. With the new app, you can practice using your electronic device.

Once you sign up for the new SAT practice app, you will start to receive further practice questions. Each question comes with helpful hints on how to answer it. After you have responded to some items, the app monitors your progress, and you can see which sections you need to study more.

Aside from using a valuable app to review, consider taking a paper version of the new SAT practice test. In this way, you can print out an official answer sheet from the College Board Daily Practice website. Next, answer all the questions on the practice test. Then, using your Daily Practice app, take a picture of the test and submit it. The system will score your test and offer you feedback.

An excellent way to use this practice tool is to take the test multiple times. That is, the app will monitor your scores and give you the most updated evaluation of your test. This type of scoring is valuable because you immediately know which topics you need to study the most. You will also identify your strengths and weaknesses based on the practice tests.

Study Plan for Standardized Testing

In addition to using the new app for SAT practice test, you can also use test preparation from Khan Academy. Moreover, the College Board encourages students to prepare with Khan Academy programs. Khan Academy offers a comprehensive study plan for students with expectations, goals and monitoring success. Once you sign up for a Khan Academy study plan, select the Official SAT Practice Schedule.

The system will recommend practice times and the number of practice tests you need to take. The schedule will also let you know the best times to practice to hone in your skills. At first, take the diagnostic SAT practice test. The diagnostic test will help you determine the topics you need to focus on as you move through your study plan. After that, start practicing the skills you need before test time. Within your study plan, you might want to take a practice test at the beginning of the plan and one at the end.

In this way, you can focus on subjects that need more attention than others. While you have two points of reference for your studying, you can also implement a practice test during the middle of your study plan. By having different testing times of your practice, you can evaluate your progress.

SAT Practice Test Simulation

However, your practice is not complete until you simulate the testing conditions. Take a moment in your study plan to assign a day to go through the SAT practice test. Make sure to use a timer as a time management tool to keep track of your minutes in answering the questions. Also, note the areas where you get tired or need more focus.

Remember that the actual test is paper-based and three hours long. As a result, use your time wisely and know when you need to pace yourself during the test. More importantly, avoid studying last minute. These rushed study sessions only increase stress levels and reduce your chances of success. Instead, spend time relaxing and organizing your materials the night before the test.

By getting a good night's sleep and eating a healthy breakfast, you will arrive at your test site with confidence and a fresh mind. Make sure to also have with you the SAT registration, a valid photo ID, calculator and No. 2 pencils. Arranging those necessary steps to study will ensure a less stressful test day.

Understanding SAT Scoring

After spending time preparing for the SAT, you want to know about your scores. Your SAT scores are cumulative evaluations of the test takers. So you might wonder what is a good SAT score?

A good indicator of an acceptable SAT score is comparing the scores of students that took the test during that time. Then, the percentiles categorize the scores into 25, 50 and 75 percent. Knowing where your score falls in these categories depend on numerous factors. Consider the national average of the students who took that same test during the same conditions and same grade level.

In addition to the national average of scores, the College Board Big Future website also outlines institutions with recommended SAT scores. That is one of the reasons that scores are not definite because every year score percentiles may vary. Besides, college programs will admit students based on character, grades, commitment to the program and dedication to do your best. SAT scores alone do not determine admission.

Plan your Future

Standardize testing is overwhelming. However, your study plan and preparation can reduce the stress of taking the SAT or any other standardized test. Make sure to dedicate the time to schedule your study plan and materials. The College Board and public libraries are helpful resources for SAT practice tests.

Take the time to talk with your counselor or librarian about where to look for free resources. Besides the paper version of the practice test, you also have a new app from the College Board. Now, you can practice on any electronic device virtually anywhere.

More importantly, analyze and dedicate time to go through the questions you need to focus on. In that way, you do not have to rush through the material and use your time more effectively. Once you have a structured plan, you can be sure you are ready for the SAT.

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About the Author

Barbara earned a B. S. in Biochemistry and Chemistry from the Univ. of Houston and the Univ. of Central Florida, respectively. Besides working as a chemist for the pharmaceutical and water industry, she pursued her degree in secondary science teaching. Barbara now writes and researches educational content for blogs and higher-ed sites.