Making the Most of Your SAT Experience

Taking the SAT can be a major event in your life.  It might seem like just another test, but it can be far more than that.  While tests are a regular occurrence in a high school, a test of this magnitude can determine the course of your educational future.

If you find yourself worrying about this upcoming test, or have already taken it and found it something beyond your previous expectations, the following are a few tips that can help you get the most out of your SAT experience.


Visit the Library, go Online, buy a SAT Preparation Guide

When you go into a history, biology, algebra, or foreign language test, you’re not likely to do very well if you haven’t prepared ahead of time.  Whether through classroom instruction, studying at home, memorization, reading up on test-taking skills or whatever, there are ways we train ourselves to excel in test-taking scenarios.

The same goes for the SAT.  A little preparation can go a long way.  Stopping by the school library to check out a couple SAT prep books, going online to study test prep tips and review the experiences and lessons of others who have been there before you, and maybe even buying an online SAT prep guide or two with sample questions can leave you better prepared for stepping into what may be one of the most important tests of your life.


Take the PSAT

Taking the PSAT can be a good way to “get your feet wet” so to speak, when it comes to the feel for the sorts of standardized testing that you’ll be encountering on the SAT.  Not only this, but you can see what sorts of questions will be on the SAT, get a feel for the structure of the test, understand the rules and layout, and get the chance to start acclimating yourself to the timing and stress of the test without too much pressure on your shoulders.  Like many things in life, the more practice you can get ahead of time, the more comfortable you’ll hopefully feel when taking the actual SAT.  Starting this process your sophomore or junior year can give you time to get a couple such tests under your belt before you even take a stab at your first SAT.


Avoid the “One and Done” Scenario

You shouldn’t feel like a failure if you end up taking the SAT multiple times.  In fact, this is actually quite normal for many people.  Taking the test multiple times can allow you to better your score and could provide you with different scores on different sections of the tests at various times.  There are a variety of situations and factors that can affect how well you do on the SAT.  Nerves, a cold, a bad night’s sleep, or just bad test prep can leave you with a less than appealing score, but taking the test again when you’re better prepared could have significantly better results, cancelling out your lesser performance.