How can I prepare for the SAT?
Should I prepare for the SAT? How much time should I spend doing so?
Absolutely. Contrary to what many people think, the SAT is not a test of IQ (general intelligence); rather, it is standardized, and is thus predictable. There is usually a strong correlation between the amount of effort you put into preparing for the SAT and your performance on the test.
That said, the amount of preparation necessary will be different for each student. The amount of time you spend will depend on your starting scores, your goal scores, and your ability to work prep into your busy schedule.
What content does the SAT test?
The SAT tests the content learned and skills developed over many years of students’ academic paths. These include:
- Reading comprehension
- Understanding of main ideas, author’s intent, word usage, rhetorical devices, and structure in the context of large passages
- Grasp of English grammar, sentence structure, efficiency, and writing conventions
- Algebra I and II, geometry, and trigonometry
- Writing skills (if you choose to write the Essay)
What is the structure of the SAT, and how is it scored?
The SAT comprises four sections: Reading (65 minutes, 52 questions), Writing & Language (35 minutes, 44 questions), Math – No Calculator (25 minutes, 20 questions), and Math – Calculator (55 minutes, 38 questions). You can also choose whether to take the optional Essay (50 minutes). The sections are always administered in the same order. Most questions on the test feature multiple choice answer options; however, the Math sections feature a total of 13 “student-produced response”, or “grid-in”, questions, for which students must provide answers they compute without having choices available.
The SAT provides two scores on a 200-800 point scale: one combined score for the Reading and Writing & Language sections (known as the “Evidence-Based Reading & Writing” score), and another combined score for the two Math sections. Thus, the total score range for the SAT is the sum of these scores on a 400-1600 scale. Your score report also provides a number of subscores that distinguish your performance in more specific areas.
The essay score is entirely separate from the 400-1600 score, and does not affect your section scores at all. Instead, your essay is graded using three scores on a scale of 0-8. These scores are not summed, but are reported as individual numbers out of 8.
Doing well on the SAT and ACT is a matter of matching your individual strengths to the concepts on the exams. Developing strategies that favor your personal learning style will make all the difference on test day. Our tutors help you do just that.
Students get the exposure they need to important subject matter—like critical reading, math, writing and science concepts—AND the test-taking strategies that make the difference.
Method Learning regularly holds practice tests at its Mineola, NY center, where students are able to take a full-length SAT or ACT under test-like conditions.
Self-Paced online test prep crafted by our experts. Prepare for SAT or ACT on your schedule from your own home.