I just got a 2320 SAT, here’s some advice for other rising seniors.
Don’t bother with the prep classes. Everyone I’ve talked to has gotten the biggest score increases from one-on-one tutoring. I know that’s really expensive, so here are some suggestions if that is not an option (or hell, even if it is, because tutors vary so much in quality):
Get the Black Book of SAT Prep. My tutor recommended this to me and I love this book. it really deconstructs the test and explains the reasoning behind it.
To use along with it, also get the College Board’s Blue Book. The information in this is pretty much useless but the practice tests are the only official practice tests released by the makers of the test. They are all previously administered SATs. The practice tests released in other manufacturer’s books are not accurate to what the actual tests.
If you are doing this alone, work on as regular a schedule as you can. It helped me to do individual sections at a time, rather than take an entire practice test at once. Provided you have taken math classes up through Geometry and you have a college-ready reading level, the SAT does not test you on anything you do not already know, it just asks the questions in weird ways. The Black Book of SAT Prep explains this better than I can, go get it and read it!
Some other general tips:
- Don’t be afraid to write on the test, marking up the test helps a lot in keeping track of your thinking. Mark up the writing and reading passages and sentences, it will help you keep track of your thinking. Underline the parts of the reading passages that the questions ask about. Draw diagrams for math problems if it will help you conceptualize the problem.
- Make sure that you look at the list of the math concepts that are necessary to answer the questions, it’s easy to complicate simple problems if you don’t know what the test expects you to know.
- Don’t be afraid to slow down, especially if you keep finishing early.
- Skip questions that you don’t know when you go through a section the first time, then come back to them at the end when you have extra time.
- Don’t be afraid to check “No Error” on the Identifying Errors bit of the Writing section, most sections have at least 2 but sometimes more where the answer is “No Error”.
- Spend up to the first 5 minutes of the essay brainstorming. Write out all of your ideas, then boil it down to two or three and open your essay. Write a hook and a thesis only for the intro, then develop your points in your body paragraphs. Make sure that every sentence in your essay serves to argue your point.
if you have any more questions, feel free to ask me at my blog.