The SAT is like any other skill. The more you practice, the better you get. You may very well have taken advantage of this principle by taking an SAT summer class, hiring a tutor, or tackling the test yourself. If so, there all still some important points to remember so you don’t get discourage or burnt out.
Everyone has an off day
If you take practice tests every week or so, you may notice that your score doesn’t always increase. There can be a number of factors for this: your state while taking the test (are you feeling tired?), the types of passages on the test (19th Century British literature may not be your thing), or the inevitable distractions that are part of life. Don’t despair. Only if your score consistently drops or you hit a plateau should you be concerned. In this case, ask your teacher/tutor and he/she will help you figure out what is going on and come up with a strategy to improve your score.
Timing the test
If you are honing your SAT skills over the summer, try your best to take the first SAT offered after summer. (This test usually falls at end of Sept. or at the very beginning of Oct.) Once the school year begins, you will become inundated (SAT WORD!) with a slew of other obligations. You will hardly have time to practice the SAT; when the next test rolls around (sometime in Nov.) you will probably not be in top form.
SAT prep goes beyond the test itself
And one last word—the skills you learn to become effective SAT test takers, from vocabulary to the critical thinking skills employed on critical reading, will help you immensely in college. So do not think of this as tedious summer doing SAT—you are preparing yourself not only to get into a top college, but also to be at the top once you’re there!