When I was taking the SAT, I had a lot of misconceptions. If I could go back in time, there are many things I would tell myself. So to save all you high schoolers the trouble, here’s what I wish I knew about the test.
1. There’s not one “right” way to study
Different people learn in different ways. If you’ve found a study method that works for you, then stick with it. Some students go to expensive tutors and will try to convince you that this is the only way to get a good score on the SAT. But if you attend a tutor and they’re not actually helping you, don’t feel like you have to go because everyone else is going.
When I was a junior, I felt pressure to attend the pricey test prep courses that many of my classmates were going to. But now I realize that I didn’t need to waste the time and money. For me personally, studying on my own was more helpful and efficient.
2. Don’t devote the same amount of study time to every section
If you struggle in math but are great at writing the essay, then don’t spend the same amount of time practicing both skills. Focus on math more. You shouldn’t be spending precious time and energy going over stuff you already know well. This tip sounds pretty intuitive, but a lot of students spend equal amounts of time studying each section only to realize that they could have spent their time more productively.
3. Don’t worry about other people
Other people’s scores do not matter at all. The only thing that matters is improving your own score and reaching your own personal goals. The more you compare yourself to others, the worse you’ll feel. From my personal experience, I can say that listening to this tip would have saved me a lot of emotional stress.
4. You have time
Don’t feel rushed! There are several SAT test dates each year, so you can definitely retake it if you are unhappy with your score. If you’re especially worried, you can begin taking the SAT in the fall of your junior year. Most students take the test in the spring of their junior year. And if you still want to retake the SAT after the spring, you can take it in the fall of senior year, after you’ve had the whole summer to study.
5. When it’s over, no one cares
After you’ve submitted all of your college applications, no one is going to care about the SAT or who got which score. So if the test stresses you out, remember that you’re going to be totally done soon. You won’t have to think about it ever again if you don’t want to.