How to make your SAT practice a success

If you have the SAT coming up, chances are you’ve already started studying (or at least started thinking about studying!) While preparation is crucial, the phrase “work smarter, not harder” comes to mind. There are some important ways to make sure you are effectively utilizing your time and effort in exam prep. With the right practice techniques, your SAT prep will be a success and you will surely ace it.

Here are our top SAT preparation tips for both study and the big day:

Take A Diagnostic Test

The first step to success is to identify your weaknesses. Don’t worry, everyone has them! The structure of the SAT consists of Math, Critical Reading, and Writing sections. Each of these will test your different skills and requires a different study and exam-taking technique. By taking an online diagnostic test, you can identify your strengths and weaknesses right from the beginning to make sure you use your study time effectively.

Utilize Online Tools

While preparing for the SAT may feel daunting, it doesn’t have to be! Online prep resources, such as Lumos Learning StepUp, takes the guesswork out of planning your study program. The SAT is a structured exam, meaning your study program should be equally targeted. Included proficiency markers, tech-enhanced items and assessment practice help to create a holistic, and effective study plan.

Take Practice Tests

It seems simple, but one of the best ways you can prepare is to take practice tests. This includes examining questions from previous years, and sitting fully timed exams at home to practice working under pressure. It may seem tempting to only do this once you’ve finished revising, but it is actually more important to incorporate practice tests into your study regimen right from the beginning. The Lumos program, for example, encourages you to take practice tests, and then provides remedial exercises to address any problem areas. This means that you are effectively tackling your weaknesses right from the beginning.

Set Yourself Up For Test Day

So you’ve studied hard and now test day is almost here… this period is just as crucial! The night before the exam is not time to cram, rather to have a big, healthy meal and get a good night’s sleep. Pack your test supplies and ID in advance, and plan to arrive way ahead of schedule. Rest assured that all your hard work will pay off, and utilize breathing practices to try and stay cool, calm and collected.

Read Instructions Thoroughly

In the adrenaline of test day it can be tempting to fly through on auto-pilot, however try to consciously read through each question carefully. Especially in the reading sections, sometimes the questions give more context than you may realize. In multiple-choice questions there may be two very similar answers, so make sure to properly eliminate all the other options before choosing your answer. It seems simple, but avoiding silly mistakes can make a difference to your final mark.

Price and Payment Support

It is no lie that college is expensive, but the wide range of costs can be confusing and prohibitive. Whether you have a certain budget in mind, are looking for an estimate to figure out a student loan, or are looking to research tuition support programs it is important to factor these in right from the beginning of your search.

Keep Track Of Time

A good technique to try in your practice tests is to not do the questions in order. By doing all the questions you find easy first, you will spend less time dwelling on the harder ones and potentially running down the clock. Once you have answered all your guaranteed points, then you can go back to thoroughly think through the more difficult questions. Of course, keeping an eye on the time is crucial to make sure you finish each section and feel confident with your effort.


Alice Moore