4 Things You Must Do Before You Take the SAT

SAT Subject Tests
Getty Images | Michelle Joyce

 

Finding out more about the SAT isn’t difficult; it just requires a little studious planning. I know. That sounds like a bummer, but if you’d like to get the SAT score of your dreams, you will do a little preparation first. And I don't mean just buying an SAT test prep book five days before the test and reading through a little of it. Sure, a test prep book can help you, but there's but there’s a whole mess of other things you need to wrap your head around, too.

Start with these before you take the SAT. 

1. Learn the SAT Registration Basics

Can you waltz into a testing center and demand a test booklet? When do you register? What sorts of things do you need to know before you register for the test? When is the test even offered? What about the cost? These are questions you’re going to need the answers to before you take the SAT. It is extremely important that you get these things right. You can't just take the test whenever you'd like to, and there are things you must do prior to registering. If you don't know what those things are, then you're going to miss out on the test day you'd prefer, and possibly, the deadline for your school of choice's application window. Thankfully, I have some answers for you. So, read on. 

  • SAT Cost
  • SAT Registration
  • What's a Good SAT Score?

    2. Learn About the SAT Test Itself

    The SAT test is more than just a booklet full of random questions.

    There are timed sections with varying degrees of difficulty, varied content areas, and different ways to earn points. Can you use a calculator on the math section? Is the SAT essay required, or can you opt out of it? How different is the Evidence-Based Writing and Language test from the old SAT Writing test?

    Read through each of the sections below to make sure you understand what you'll be asked. It's imperative that you understand each section, especially since the SAT changed quite a bit in March 2016. 

      3. Plan SAT Prep Into Your Schedule

      It may seem strange to have to schedule in SAT prep (aren't schedules for your parents?), but it's important to take SAT prep seriously and figure out daily time to prepare for this exam. Sometimes, your SAT score can give you a college admissions boost when your GPA can't. Print the "Where Do I Spend My Time?" chart at the bottom of the page here, and fill in every single scheduled activity, class, and dedicated hour you currently have. Then, figure out where SAT prep can fit into that busy schedule. You have more available time to study than you probably think you have. 

      4. Effectively Prep for the SAT

      Once you have figured out where SAT prep can fit into your schedule, you need to determine what SAT prep is the best for you. You can read all you like about the SAT, but if you don’t prep effectively, you’ll just be running around in circles, getting yourself all sweaty, but ending up nowhere near the SAT score you deserve.

      Below are some test prep options you definitely need to follow before you go anywhere near an SAT testing center. Before you look into any of these, check out "Which Test Prep is Right For Me?" You may be better studying with a tutor than taking a class, or you may have an easier time studying by yourself with a book or app instead of signing up for a test prep course online. The guide will help you choose.