Self-Study Plans for the SAT

SAT Prep

PowerScore SAT Bible Trilogy, SAT prep, SAT classesBad news, besties: there are just over 11 weeks until the next SAT, so even though school is still out, it's time to start thinking about academics again. I know, I know. And it gets worse: pretty soon you'll be an adult and then you won't have any more summers off. But that's another post for another day.

The most prepared test takers have already purchased The SAT Bible trilogy, and have picked out the perfect study plan to fit their schedules from our Free Help Area. Right?

But if you can only purchase one book for the SAT, all test prep experts agree that the single most important resource for your preparation is The Official SAT Study Guide, a book published by the makers of the SAT. Often referred to as “The Blue Book,” it is a crucial component of your study plans because it is the only book with real test questions. That’s why all PowerScore students receive a copy of this book when they enroll in a course or in tutoring.

So if you find yourself staring down the SAT with only the Blue Book as a guide, fear not: PowerScore has made many of our resources free to any student preparing for the SAT, and I've developed a 12-week study plan to help you get the most out of all of your materials.  Students who start studying more than 12 weeks prior to an SAT can adapt the plan to fit their schedules as needed. And students who are just stumbling on PowerScore now (WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? I thought you'd never get here!) with only 11 weeks to prepare can cut out one of the practice tests recommended in the last two weeks of the plan.

If you have any general questions about the our products or SAT preparation, you can reach my esteemed administrative colleagues at sat@powerscore.com. And as always, if you have more specific questions about the test itself, you can reach me at vwood@powerscore.com. Happy studying!

WEEK 1: Introduction and Passage-Based Reading

  • SAT Study Guide, SAT Prep, PowerScore SAT PrepIntroduce yourself to the SAT by reading Chapters 1 and 2 of the Blue Book (pages 3-20).
  • Read and complete the following pages in the Blue Book: Chapter 4: About the Critical Reading Section (pages 29-30), Chapter 6: Passage-based Reading (pages 49-86), and pages 459-462 and 476-480.
  • Take three timed sections from Practice Test 4 in the Blue Book (Section 2 on page 576, Section 5 on page 587, and Section 8 on page 605). Time yourself and mark where you are when time is called. Then finish the remainder of the section untimed. Check your answers and review any questions you missed or answers you correctly guessed. It is imperative that you understand why you struggled with a question. Was it a word in the answer choice? A phrase in the passage? You can compute your Reading score using pages 621-623. Be sure to only count the questions you completed before time was called when scoring the sections.
  • Print the PowerScore Repeat Offenders Flash Cards and begin studying the Top 200 Repeat Offender vocabulary words. Remove any words to which you already know the definition and study the ones you do not know. Once you master these cards, move to the remaining decks in the following order: Easy, Medium, People, Hard, and Extreme. It is most important to cover the first 4 decks before you finish this study plan; the Hard and Extreme words do not have to be memorized.
  • Begin reading and analyzing one passage a day as explained in the SAT Free Help Area. Continue this practice throughout your 12 weeks of study.

WEEK 2: Arithmetic

  • Read and complete the following pages in the Blue Book: Chapter 14: About the Mathematics Section (pages 217-225), pages 303-304 and 343-346 (on Multiple Choice and Student-Produced Response Questions), and Chapter 15: Number and Operations Review (pages 227-242).
  • Complete all of the questions in the PowerScore Blue Book Arithmetic Database that occur before page 555 (save questions that occur after page 555 for timed practice sessions). For example, look at the questions involving “Remainders” on the database page. You would only do the first one, as it appears on page 399. The other three questions appear after page 555.
  • Take three timed sections from Practice Test 4 in the Blue Book (Section 3 on page 581, Section 6 on page 593, and Section 9 on page 609). Time yourself and mark where you are when time is called. Then finish the remainder of the section untimed. Check your answers and review any questions you missed or answers you correctly guessed. It is imperative that you understand why you struggled with a question. You can compute your Math score using pages 621-623. Be sure to only count the questions you completed before time was called when scoring the sections.
  • Print the PowerScore SAT Math Bible Flash Cards and begin studying the cards that involve formulas, definitions, or other material covered in the SAT Math Bible's Number and Operations Review chapter.
  • Continue reading and analyzing one passage a day from the PowerScore SAT Free Help Area.
  • Complete pages 488-490 in the Blue Book (Passage-based Reading).
  • Continue studying the PowerScore Repeat Offender Flash Cards

WEEK 3: Sentence Completion

  • Read and complete the following pages in the Blue Book: Chapter 5: Sentence Completion (pages 31-48), pages 390, 402, 425, 458, 475, 487, 520, 537, and 549.
  • Take three timed sections from Practice Test 5 in the Blue Book (Section 3 on page 644, Section 7 on page 662, and Section 9 on page 672). Time yourself and mark where you are when time is called. Then finish the remainder of the section untimed. Check your answers and review any questions you missed or answers you correctly guessed. It is imperative that you understand why you struggled with a question. You can compute your Reading score using pages 683-685. Be sure to only count the questions you completed before time was called when scoring the sections.
  • Continue reading and analyzing one passage a day from the SAT Free Help Area.
  • Continue studying the PowerScore Repeat Offender Flash Cards.
  • Continue studying the PowerScore SAT Math Bible Flash Cards.

WEEK 4: Algebra and Algebra II

  • Read and complete the following pages in the Blue Book: Chapter 16: Algebra and Functions Review (pages 243-262).
  • Complete all of the questions in the PowerScore Blue Book Algebra Database and the PowerScore Blue Book Algebra II Database that occur before page 555.
  • Take three timed sections from Practice Test 5 in the Blue Book (Section 2 on page 638, Section 4 on page 650, and Section 8 on page 667). Time yourself and mark where you are when time is called. Then finish the remainder of the section untimed. Check your answers and review any questions you missed or answers you correctly guessed. It is imperative that you understand why you struggled with a question. You can compute your Math score using pages 683-685. Be sure to only count the questions you completed before time was called when scoring the sections.
  • Continue studying the PowerScore SAT Math Bible Flash Cards and add all Algebra and Algebra II concept cards to your stack.
  • Continue studying the PowerScore Repeat Offender Flash Cards.
  • Continue reading and analyzing one passage a day from the SAT Free Help Area.
  • Complete pages 521-524 in the Blue Book (Passage-based Reading).

WEEK 5: The Essay

  • Read and complete the following pages in the Blue Book: Chapter 8: About the Writing Section (pages 99-102), Chapter 9: The Essay (pages 103-135).
  • Take a timed essay from Practice Test 1 in the Blue Book (page 389).
  • Take a timed essay from Practice Test 2 in the Blue Book (page 451).
  • Take a timed essay from Practice Test 3 in the Blue Book (page 513).
  • After each essay, assign it a score based on the rubric on page 105 and the examples on pages 120-135. Then reproduce your essay in a thread on College Confidential and ask the students there to score and critique your essay.
  • Take three timed sections from Practice Test 4 in the Blue Book (Section 1 on page 575, Section 7 on page 599, and Section 10 on page 614). Time yourself and mark where you are when time is called. Then finish the remainder of the section untimed. Check your answers and review any questions you missed or answers you correctly guessed. It is imperative that you understand why you struggled with a question. You can compute your Writing score by self-scoring your essay and using pages 621-625. Be sure to only count the questions you completed before time was called when scoring the multiple choice sections.
  • Continue reading and analyzing one passage a day from the SAT Free Help Area.
  • Complete pages 538-542 in the Blue Book (Passage-based Reading).
  • Continue studying the PowerScore SAT Math Bible Flash Cards.
  • Continue studying the PowerScore Repeat Offender Flash Cards.

WEEK 6: Geometry and Coordinate Geometry

  • Read and complete the following pages in the Blue Book: Chapter 17: Geometry and Measurement Review (pages 263-289).
  • Complete all of the questions in the PowerScore Blue Book Geometry Database and the PowerScore Blue Book Coordinate Geometry Database that occur before page 555.
  • Take three timed sections from Practice Test 6 in the Blue Book (Section 2 on page 700, Section 4 on page 712, and Section 8 on page 729). Time yourself and mark where you are when time is called. Then finish the remainder of the section untimed. Check your answers and review any questions you missed or answers you correctly guessed. It is imperative that you understand why you struggled with a question. You can compute your Math score using pages 745-747. Be sure to only count the questions you completed before time was called when scoring the sections.
  • Continue studying the PowerScore SAT Math Bible Flash Cards and add all Geometry and Coordinate Geometry concept cards to your stack.
  • Continue reading and analyzing one passage a day from the SAT Free Help Area.
  • Take a timed Reading section from Practice Test 6 in the Blue Book (Section 3 on page 706). Time yourself and mark where you are when time is called. Then finish the remainder of the section untimed. Check your answers and review any questions you missed or answers you correctly guessed.
  • Continue studying the PowerScore Repeat Offender Flash Cards.

WEEK 7: Grammar I

  • Read and complete the following pages in the Blue Book: Chapter 10: Improving Sentences (pages 137-152), Chapter 11: Identifying Sentence Errors (pages 153-168), pages 407-410, 429-431, 469-472, 491-493, 531-535 (through question 29), and 553-555.
  • Take three timed sections from Practice Test 5 in the Blue Book (Section 1 on page 637, Section 6 on page 656, and Section 10 on page 676). Time yourself and mark where you are when time is called. Then finish the remainder of the section untimed. Check your answers and review any questions you missed or answers you correctly guessed. It is imperative that you understand why you struggled with a question. You can compute your Writing score by self-scoring your essay and using pages 683-687. Be sure to only count the questions you completed before time was called when scoring the multiple choice sections.
  • Print the PowerScore SAT Writing Bible Flash Cards and begin studying the common “Alarm Bells” that signal an error in the Writing multiple choice questions.
  • Continue reading and analyzing one passage a day from the SAT Free Help Area.
  • Take a timed Reading section from Practice Test 6 in the Blue Book (Section 7 on page 724). Time yourself and mark where you are when time is called. Then finish the remainder of the section untimed. Check your answers and review any questions you missed or answers you correctly guessed.
  • Continue studying the PowerScore SAT Math Bible Flash Cards.
  • Continue studying the PowerScore Repeat Offender Flash Cards.
  • By now, many students have realized how difficult it is to discover the question patterns in the SAT. Leave the hard work to PowerScore experts who have already analyzed the test and can offer you the secrets to success. Look for a PowerScore course in your area today!

WEEK 8: Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability

  • Read and complete the following pages in the Blue Book: Chapter 18: Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability Review (pages 291-302).
  • Complete all of the questions in the PowerScore Blue Book Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probablity Database that occur before page 555.
  • Take three timed sections from Practice Test 7 in the Blue Book (Section 3 on page 768, Section 7 on page 785, and Section 9 on page 795). Time yourself and mark where you are when time is called. Then finish the remainder of the section untimed. Check your answers and review any questions you missed or answers you correctly guessed. It is imperative that you understand why you struggled with a question. You can compute your Math score using pages 807-907. Be sure to only count the questions you completed before time was called when scoring the sections.
  • Continue studying the PowerScore SAT Math Bible Flash Cards and add all Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability concept cards to your stack.
  • Continue reading and analyzing one passage a day from the SAT Free Help Area.
  • Take a timed Reading section from Practice Test 6 in the Blue Book (Section 9 on page 734). Time yourself and mark where you are when time is called. Then finish the remainder of the section untimed. Check your answers and review any questions you missed or answers you correctly guessed.
  • Continue studying the PowerScore Repeat Offender Flash Cards.
  • Continue studying the PowerScore SAT Writing Bible Flash Cards.

WEEK 9: Grammar 2

  • Read and complete the following pages in the Blue Book: Chapter 12: Improving Paragraphs (pages 169-188), pages 411-412, 473-474, and 535-536.
  • Take three timed Writing sections from Practice Test 6 in the Blue Book (Section 1 on page 699, Section 6 on page 718, and Section 10 on page 738). Time yourself and mark where you are when time is called. Then finish the remainder of the section untimed. Check your answers and review any questions you missed or answers you correctly guessed. It is imperative that you understand why you struggled with a question. You can compute your Writing score by self-scoring your essay and using pages 683-687. Be sure to only count the questions you completed before time was called when scoring the multiple choice sections.
  • Continue studying the PowerScore SAT Writing Bible Flash Cards.
  • Continue reading and analyzing one passage a day from the SAT Free Help Area.
  • Take a timed Reading section from Practice Test 7 in the Blue Book (Section 2 on page 762). Time yourself and mark where you are when time is called. Then finish the remainder of the section untimed. Check your answers and review any questions you missed or answers you correctly guessed.
  • Continue studying the PowerScore SAT Math Bible Flash Cards.
  • Continue studying the PowerScore Repeat Offender Flash Cards.
  • Pick up a classic novel to read in the month prior to the test. Students report that this strategy helps them focus on fictional passages and subliminally teaches them new vocab. You can find a list of PowerScore recommended books in our SAT Free Help Area.

WEEK 10: Review

  • Read and complete Chapter 7: Practice for the Critical Reading Section (pages 87-96) in the Blue Book.
  • Read and complete Chapter 13: Practice for the Writing Section (pages 189-214) in the Blue Book.
  • Read and complete Chapter 19: Multiple Choice Questions (pages 303-340) in the Blue Book.
  • Read and complete Chapter 20: Student-Produced Response Questions (pages 343-364) in the Blue Book.
  • Read and complete Chapter 21: Practice for the Mathematics Section (pages 365-376) in the Blue Book.
  • Take three timed Writing sections from Practice Test 7 in the Blue Book (Section 1 on page 761, Section 4 on page 774, and Section 10 on page 801). Time yourself and mark where you are when time is called. Then finish the remainder of the section untimed. Check your answers and review any questions you missed or answers you correctly guessed. It is imperative that you understand why you struggled with a question. You can compute your Writing score by self-scoring your essay and using pages 683-687. Be sure to only count the questions you completed before time was called when scoring the multiple choice sections.
  • Take two timed Reading sections from Practice Test 7 in the Blue Book (Section 5 on page 780 and Section 8 on page 791). Time yourself and mark where you are when time is called. Then finish the remainder of the section untimed. Check your answers and review any questions you missed or answers you correctly guessed.
  • Continue studying the PowerScore SAT Math Bible Flash Cards.
  • Continue studying the PowerScore Repeat Offender Flash Cards.
  • Continue studying the PowerScore SAT Writing Bible Flash Cards.

WEEKS 11-12: Full Length Timed Practice Tests

Some Final "Day Before The SAT" Tips

  • Do not study the day before the SAT. Cramming the day before the SAT can cause fatigue and poor performance.
  • Eat a healthy dinner rich in complex carbohydrates the night before the test. 
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Aim for at least 8 hours of shut-eye in order to reach your full potential on test day.

Good luck!

Photo: "Studying" courtesy of scui3asteveo.