How to Study for an SAT Makeup Test

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SAT Makeup Tests

First off, a “makeup” is not the same as a retake. “Makeup” is reserved for those instances in which testing centers have to close because of bad weather. For those signed up for the January 2016 this means Winter Storm Jonas. For others, it could be something far less likely to make national headlines: flooding in and around the testing center, a foot of snow making roads un-drivable, dangerous lightening storms during testing time.

If you fall into this group, you might at first be ecstatic (yay, I can sleep in and not have to suffer through the SAT!), but eventually that euphoria will give way to the fact that you’ll have to take a makeup test—unless of course you don’t mind wasting the money, which I don’t recommend. Regardless, you might likely feel bummed out, thinking that all that time spent studying has been lost. Well, that is not necessarily true.

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You don’t suddenly forget what you’ve learned

The SAT is not a test based on cramming. If that was your planning going in, then consider whatever untoward meteorological event caused the closing of the testing center a blessing in disguise. Assuming you actually spent a few weeks of solid prepping, much of what you learned is still there—as long as you restudy. And the sooner you do so, the better.

Build deeper connections

The good news is that by revisiting the material, you are likely to understand it at a deeper level. So go back over what you learned, though you might want to do a fresh batch of questions. Study the same vocabulary, memorize the same math concepts, and internalize the same grammar concepts. The second time around it will be easier and feel more second nature.

Expand your horizons

Now that you have a little more time, you don’t want to review only that which you have already covered. Assuming you have more time left to study before the makeup, learn more vocabulary, delve deeper into some more challenging math material, and attack the more challenging aspects of grammar.

More time, more practice tests

You might not have been able to take the SAT when you hoped to, but you can take a full-length practice test whenever you have a few available hours. To get ready for the makeup test, you’ll want to do at least one practice test. Sitting through a practice test will help you identify areas in which you need to improve, whether it is pacing, strategy, or plain old endurance.

Taking a second timed practice test will make the experience of test day seem even less daunting. And assuming you do what’s recommended in this article (review, expand, and practice), you’ll likely do better than the first time around.


  • Chris Lele

    Chris Lele is the Principal Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh. Chris graduated from UCLA with a BA in Psychology and has 20 years of experience in the test prep industry. He's been quoted as a subject expert in many publications, including US News, GMAC, and Business Because. In his time at Magoosh, Chris has taught countless students how to tackle the GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT, MCAT (CARS), and LSAT exams with confidence. Some of his students have even gone on to get near-perfect scores. You can find Chris on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook!

By the way, Magoosh can help you study for both the SAT and ACT exams. Click here to learn more!


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