You know how if you take most of the summer off, hanging out and what not, that in those first few weeks of school your brain is, ah, sort of slow? Well, that’s not surprising. Your brain hasn’t gotten a mental workout and so has lost the edge it had when you were preparing for finals.
With the SAT you not only have a new subset of knowledge—tough vocabulary, esoteric grammar rules, and dense, academic reading passage—but you also have question after question, section after section. Your brain, even if it is in generally good shape, is going to get fatigued. So just as you feel slow those first few days after summer, you may feel slow those first. Unfortunately, many students don’t see it this way, and think, Oh, I’m so bad at the SAT. Instead, they should be thinking, well my start point is not where I’d like it to be, but with just a little bit of work, I should be able to increase a few points.
This positive attitude is paramount; without it you may not be able to change.
The reason the SAT is learnable is that you are training your brain to remain focused for four hours at a time—something that you probably don’t have much practice doing unless you are an avid reader. Improving focus is something that will come naturally with practice.
Of course you must learn how the SAT is written: the way it makes it so one answer choice is right and the others is wrong, and the way it carefully places traps throughout the test. You will also have to increase your vocabulary, learn how to attack long reading passage, brush up on your math fundamentals, and about a dozen grammatical rules. But again all of this is very learnable with a little bit of hard work.