Two Months or More of Study Time
First, if you’ve got much more time than three months, you may want to focus on your schoolwork for a little while, since whatever SAT knowledge you take in so early might get a little rusty by your test day. Put your prep to the side for just a bit, or spend just a little time each week working on your vocabulary. There are hundreds of words you might get points for knowing—words that you may never have seen before—and it takes a lot of time to study them all. If you’ve got three months or less, though, it’s time to start working on some other things.
One thing you’re able to do with so much time is improve your stamina with full-length practice tests. Try to get one done every other weekend or so—the more, the better.
This is also a good chance for you to pick up math skills you’re not very comfortable with from school (possibly functions, combinations and permutations, or coordinate geometry), since learning those skills is something that isn’t so easy to cram.
But maybe most importantly, get a handle on critical reading! Even though more students say they’re worried about the math sections, the average score for reading is lower, and the SAT tests certain thought patterns that really can’t be learned quickly. The best way to go about it is to pick apart the different types of questions and practice them specifically. Then, every time you choose a wrong answer, analyze why the answer you chose doesn’t work.
A Bit Less: Two Weeks to Two Months
You still have the chance to take two or three full practice SATs, so make sure you do that. You also have time to focus on individual skills and types of questions, though, so don’t think that taking just the practice tests is enough.
This is good time to refresh your SAT grammar knowledge. Learning the difference between independent clauses and dependent clauses doesn’t really take a whole lot of time, so you can get that down even if you only have a few weeks. And if you have more time, you can work on applying those rules to your writing and break any old, bad habits.
As was true at two months or more, you should be focusing on areas that you are weak in (especially for math) and your critical reading skills. Check out this one month SAT study schedule to get going.
Get Into SAT Habits
If you have more than two weeks, you need to form some good study habits. Focus first on one goal, then stick to it. Read and practice as much as you possibly can to avoid the most common SAT mistakes. Learn the SAT format backwards and forwards and you’ll be more comfortable on test day.