Best Way to Prepare for the SAT: Tips and Help

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Memorize Math Terms

Many math terms are used in basic SAT questions. Spend time reviewing sample math questions to see if you have adequately learned the math phrases that will typically appear on the SAT. Flash cards are very helpful for learning math terms and strategies. Create a set or buy a prepared set at a bookstore.

Study with a Friend

Often, working in teams helps students learn more information at a quicker pace. Work with a friend to prepare for the SAT. Create flash cards together and use them to quiz each other. A partner set-up helps each person stay motivated.

Develop Vocabulary

Read novels and non-fiction to develop a strong vocabulary. The more a high school student reads, the more enriched the vocabulary becomes. As you read, write down new vocabulary words and then look up their definition in a dictionary or online at

Read a Newspaper Daily

Read a good newspaper daily. Either purchase a paper or read papers online at, or Reading the newspaper helps build strong writing skills. It also trains the mind to use facts in writing and hones analytical skills.

Practice Test-Taking Skills

Practice taking the SAT test. Practice tests help student learn the style and format of the test. Practicing also helps to calm nerves and to help a student build confidence that they will do well on the SAT test. There are many books available at bookstores that contain S.A.T. practice tests. There are also online sites SAT practice test sites such as:

Pace Yourself

Do the easy questions first and pace yourself on each section of the test. Do not linger too long on a question you really don’t know the answer to. Answer all the questions that you can. Then go back and struggle with the tougher questions.

Sleep Well

Get enough rest the night before the SAT test. Shut off the television and computer at least an hour before bedtime. Go to sleep early enough to get a full 8 hours of sleep. Before falling asleep calm your mind and anticipate a calm morning.

Build Persuasive Thinking Skills

Read Op-Ed articles in newspapers to build persuasive writing and thinking skills. Think about the topic presented and decide if you agree with the author’s opinion or not. Then write a practice persuasive essay in which you express your own opinion on that topic or a topic of your choice. Get in the habit of writing persuasive essays that use logic and facts to present and support your opinion.

Avoid Hype & Panic

Students get very agitated before the SAT. Avoid the hype and negative talk about how this test is so important to your future. Maintain the mindset that you will achieve to the best of your ability on the test. Have self confidence in your skills. Don’t dwell on negative thinking or join in peer pressure to panic as the test approaches.

Go for a Walk

Go for a walk or get another kind of exercise if stress hits when the SAT is approaching. Exercise helps calm nerves. It also helps teens get a good night’s sleep. Regular exercise helps the brain function at its best too.

Have Goals

Use the high school years to really think about what you want your future to be like. Think about the career you want, the lifestyle you want and how you will achieve your goals. Then accept that taking the SAT is just one step toward the future. The test does not in itself determine your future. It does not have the power to grant you your wishes or deny you your dreams.

Keep your goals firmly in mind as you prepare for the SAT. Focusing on your dreams helps you maintain a positive outlook. Optimism ensures that the mind is able to focus, function, and be fearless about working toward achieving goals.


Personal experience: Teacher