How NOT to Study for the SAT

By: my sat
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Many smart students study for the SAT with such over enthusiasm and stubborn inefficiency that they fail to get the score they are aiming for despite being more than capable of achieving it. This single minded love of standardized tests can cause people to sacrifice relationships, sleep, and food in quest of the 99th percentile. Unfortunately, without the right study habits, this quest often results in failure.

Starting out Cold
Most students think buying a prep book or enrolling for a weekend course would get them started on the road to SAT prep. However, the preparation needs to start much before that. After all you do not take the SAT just for the sake of taking it but because you want to get intoa college of your choice. Given that most of us are not genius material, it is best to focus on areas that you really need to. It is very easy to mismanage your time if you start out cold.


The first thing to do is to find out what the colleges you want to get to expect from your SAT score. Some arts related colleges don't care much about your Quant score. Some technical programs may not even look at your analytical writing. Find out from an alumini, or from a faculty member (most college websites give a list of names for futher information) -if the admissions committee judges SAT scores based on percentiles of each section, individual scaled scores, combined scaled scores, or on some other criteria. Find out how your academic background affects their evaluation of your section scores. For example, it is a known fact that if you have a arts/humanities background, you can get away with a lower Verbal score.

Finding the Best prep resources that work for you


SAT prep can be such a daunting experience, that most students just start on the first preparation suggestion they come across. Rather than picking up a book that your friend used, or going for a course that makes you a maths whiz, it is best to first look around the market and see what is available. Spending a few hours researching online can save you weeks of prep time.


Everyone has a different learning style. If you work best alone, then by all means, get a good book or two and some helpful software. However, for people who need formal, structured study environments, test-prep courses are ideal. And for those who need structure but don't learn well in large groups, an individual tutor works even better than a test-prep course. Obviously, the per-hour costs are greater for a tutor than for a prep course, but you get much more out of each hour with a tutor.


In the 'Ways of the SAT Winners', we have already scoured the market for various prep options and listed the advantages and disadvantages of each of these so that you can match them to your learning style.

 

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