We can procrastinate no longer. June is over. Independence Day is past. It’s time to return our blog and our attention to the SAT. I know, I know—I’m not happy about it, either. We were having so much fun last month, and now we have to refocus and get serious. But I’ll start slow. Rather than hit you with some hard SAT prep this week, I’m going to ease you back into the realm of college admissions tests by talking about goal-setting for the SAT.
GOAL 1: Set up a study plan
There are just over 12 weeks until the October SAT, and wouldn’t you know it—PowerScore has a 12-Week Study Plan to whip you into shape for the SAT. We think of everything, don’t we? This plan is written for students who are studying with The Official SAT Study Guide, but it can be supplemented with other test prep books, such as the SAT Bible Trilogy (if you have purchased the PowerScore Bibles, feel free to email me and I’ll send you a customized study plan that includes the books). Review the 12-Week Study Plan this week, incorporating deadlines and tasks into your own personal calendar.
GOAL 2: Determine if you need additional help
Only you can determine whether you need professional help to prepare for the SAT. If you haven’t already taken an official SAT, I suggest printing the free practice test on the College Board’s website. Take the test under timed conditions, and then score it using the guide at the end of the test. Compare your score to the average scores of the freshmen class at your prospective college (you can find this information on the college’s website or through the College Board’s College Search). If you’re in the target range, independent study is a good way to prep for the test. But if you fall short of the average acceptance scores, consider courses or private tutoring.
GOAL 3: Start to learn a minimum of 500 vocabulary words
I’ve preached about vocabulary all summer long, even when I wasn’t supposed to be talking about the SAT. No matter what the College Board or your guidance counselor says, vocabulary is vital to your Critical Reading score of the SAT. It’s important, however, to study words that frequently occur on the SAT, rather than long lists with words that have never occurred on the test. I suggest memorizing the first 500 Repeat Offenders listed in our Free Help Area. That’s about 42 words a week from now until the test. If you conquer the first 500 words, then consider the words in the last two decks of flash cards. And as always, remove any words that you know and only study the ones you don’t know.
GOAL 4: Begin to memorize relevant math formulas and relationships
While the SAT provides every formula you need to know on the SAT, it’s important to memorize these formulas so that you don’t waste time flipping back and forth in the test booklet to look them up. Plus, memorization of these formulas often demonstrates an understanding of them. Additionally, there are a few formulas and relationships, which are neither required nor provided, that if known, can help you with some shortcuts on the test. So start studying our SAT Math Bible flash cards now to have an edge on test day.
Next week, we will start to look at some more specific test prep tricks, but for now, it’s important to get a plan in place and commit to it. These twelve weeks of study may seem torturous, but they can change the next four years of your life. Seems like a small investment, especially given the huge return.