How to study for the SAT

How to Study for the SAT

How to Study for the SAT? It can be overwhelming if you don’t have a game plan. If you really want to have your pick of different colleges, what you should be doing is devoting much of your time to reviewing and answering practice tests. 

Ask for Help at School

It may be obvious, but some of the best SAT resources may be closer than you think! High school teachers and administrators know that SAT prep can be difficult and expensive, so most schools offer a variety of free SAT prep resources to their students.

Some schools even give free practice tests and their libraries also have SAT prep books available for checkout. Odds are your school offers at least one of these fantastic resources. Make sure to pay a visit to the school counsellor or to your librarian and find out what your high school has to offer.

Get Prep Books and Study Independently

You may have seen some of your school mates carrying around SAT prep books, and for good reason—they’re awesome!

Well, sorta. They’re helpful, but maybe not THAT high on the cool factor. But there are tons of prep books to choose from, including Princeton Review, College Board, Barron’s, Kaplan, and others. These books are designed to really help you prepare for the test. It never hurts to grab a couple.

Read a Lot!

During the actual test, you have to read long passages that will surely make you doze off if you aren’t a big fan of reading. In order for you to survive that 65 minutes, you should practice your patience in scanning long forms of text months before the exam. This is actually one of the most effective ways on how to study for the SAT.

You may begin by reading short fictional books from the library and then shift to long non-fiction books. This will surely improve your reading speed and comprehension, plus, you’re trained to have the patience for long texts. Who knows, you might even develop a love for books this way. 

Download Smartphone Apps

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had access to tons of SAT resources in the palm of your hand? There’s an app for that! If you’re in possession of a smartphone, you can download several SAT prep apps – free and paid – available in the app store.

Some great apps include:

If you are struggling with one particular section of the SAT, there are tons of other great apps out there geared towards specific subjects, like math for example.

Practice Mental Math

There is a part of the Math test where you aren’t allowed to use your calculator in solving. This is when knowledge in mental math comes in handy.

Sure, you have your pencil with you and you can easily solve on a scratch paper but knowing how to solve basic equations using only your brain will save you a relative amount of time in the end. If you’re not that good in numbers and you find simple equations difficult, you can check out videos on youtube.

In just a few hours, you can do mental math tricks like you’ve been doing it since the day you were born. Youtube is always a good idea if you don’t know how to prepare for the SAT because there are tons of tutorials you can easily access.

Go for Mixed Practice Tests

Instead of focusing on just one area every day, it would be best if you review all three in one seating. By practising this way, you get to experience how it will actually feel when you take the SAT. 

Studies also show that if you review from section to section, you retain more information in your brain. So the next time you practice, allot 40 minutes for reading, 40 minutes for writing, and 50 minutes for math. You can take a break in between if you feel like you’re pressuring yourself too much.

Don’t Postpone Reviewing for the Exam

I get it. We are all occupied about something and most of the time, we prioritize what we feel is urgent. However, the SAT is also a big deal! And if you want to be accepted to different colleges, you should probably start preparing as early as you can.

Postponing your preparation with the excuse that the test is still several months away is not a good way of preparing. You’ll end up cramming a few weeks or days before the test and the results will be tragic, trust me. 

Focus on Your Weakness

Oh! So you’re good at Reading and Writing but not really in Math. I understand. Most of us aren’t born with a blessed brain that is good in most core areas. If this is the case, maybe your biggest question right now is how to prepare for that one SAT subject you hate.

I know it can be frustrating, but think of it this way, since you already know the reason why you could possibly flunk the test, you can now focus your energy in that particular area and try to learn as much as you can about it. You can even ask a classmate who’s good in that subject to tutor you so that when you take the SAT, you are a little more confident. 

Use Your Breaks to Review

Most of you will only laugh this off but I’m telling you, when you’re already attending your dream university, you will look back and thank yourself for reviewing during breaks instead of spending your time stalking celebrities on twitter. 

I’m not saying all of your free time should be used for SAT prep. That would be so much boring and toxic. What I’m asking you to do is use “some” of your breaks to go to the library and browse some prep books available. If you think you got covered for the day, you may go back to documenting your life on Instagram. I guess what I’m really trying to say is, use half of your breaks for actual breaks, and the other half, give it to SAT prep for the meantime.

Find a Study Buddy

Some students get more motivated when they are studying with someone. They get to consult each other about topics they don’t understand and they also gain insights about things aside from what they are reviewing.

If you’re still problematic on how to prepare for sat because you aren’t really interested, maybe finding a study buddy will get you to browse those books still unopened on your table. Knowing that someone is expecting you to know something can pressure you into taking action in a good way.

Schedule Your Review Time

Time management for teens is very important, so put that calendar you have on your phone to use! You can try to be a little bit organize for your SAT preparations by creating a schedule based on how many months/weeks you still have before the exam.

After creating your schedule, strictly follow it so you can get better results. You may not be able to fully enjoy your high school life for a few months because of the structure of your schedule but at least, you’ll get accepted to different schools where you can live the best years of your life.

Enrol in a Paid SAT Course

Taking an SAT prep course really is one of the best ways to get a handle on the material and learn how to strategize when taking the test. The SAT prep courses offered by Princeton Review, Kaplan, and Student-Tutor make studying for the SAT easier and much more manageable.


Things are organized in a clear way to give you a plan of attack. Plus, most SAT prep courses have guarantees or your money back, so you definitely won’t have to worry about wasting money, should you find that this strategy doesn’t really work for you.

Get a Private Tutor

Don’t get me wrong — free resources and SAT prep courses are awesome. But if you want to take your SAT preparation one step further, then you should definitely consider hiring a private SAT tutor.

One-on-one tutors will basically teach all the same things your student would learn in an SAT prep course (how to strategize, how to get the most out of the testing period, how to tackle the important skills, etc.). But one good thing about them is that they will teach you things at your own pace.

Conclusion: How to Study for the SAT

Let’s go over the different high school tips we shared in this article on how to study for the SAT:

  1. Search out help at school
  2. Get prep books and study independently
  3. Read a lot
  4. Download smartphone apps
  5. Practice mental math
  6. Go for mixed practice tests
  7. Don’t postpone reviewing for the exam
  8. Focus on your weakness
  9. Use your breaks to review
  10. Find a study buddy
  11. Schedule you review time
  12. Enroll in a paid SAT course
  13. Get a private tutor

If you want to study in your dream school, the tips above will help you begin your SAT preparations. Go ahead and start working on the learning areas that need improvement. 

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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Hello! My name is Todd. I help students design the life of their dreams by ensuring college, scholarship, and career success! I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, host of a career exploration podcast for teens, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. I invite you to join my next webinar to learn how to save thousands + set your teenager up for college, scholarship, and career success!
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Shannon Thompson
Shannon Thompson
7 years ago

It’s Good thing For the preparation of the SAT & ACT Test. Good Luck All Of U !!

7 years ago

This is some rock solid advice, and I greatly agree with your fifth point of taking online tests and the first point about getting a private tutor. The great thing is that you can combine those two with online tutoring services which are becoming more common. I must say that I didn’t put as much care into the SAT as I should have, and I do believe that it affected my college opportunities when I graduated, BUT I also want young students to understand that doing poorly on the SAT is not the end of your academic career, just maybe… Read more »