Every year teachers watch their students struggle and stress over SAT test prep. Here are some things they wished students knew that would make their preparation easier for them.
A test score does not define you. A test score does not indicate how smart you are, how much grit you have, or how successful you will be. The SAT simply demonstrates your ability to think critically under pressure. While it is important for getting in to the college you want, it does not determine who you will be. Give preparation the appropriate amount of time and energy, but don’t stress out about it too much.
Grades Are Important Too
Don’t spend all of your study time on the SATs. They are important and do require your attention, but don’t sacrifice your grades to spend time studying for the SATs. The curriculum you cover in school should prepare you well for the SAT. Therefore, studying for school will also help you prepare for the SAT. Your grades also count on your college application. Be sure to split your time well.
Cramming Is Not Healthy
No matter what anyone says, staying awake all night to prepare for a test, any test, is not helpful. The SAT in particular is a long test that demands extended focus and concentration. Not having enough rest before the exam will make it extremely difficult for you to focus for that long. Instead of helping your score, you will hurt it. You can skip the all-nighter if you plan ahead. Do a practice problem every day for several weeks before the exam. Plan out time to practice well before the exam. A few minutes of preparation daily will be much more effective than marathon study sessions right before the exam.
Practice Makes Perfect
Set aside time to take timed practice tests. It’s the only way you can be truly ready for the real thing. You will understand the mental stamina required to take such a long test. The pressure of time will feel real. You will know what it means to pace yourself and develop a sense for how long you can spend on each question. If you don’t take a timed practice test, the element of time will certainly surprise you on the real exam.
The SATs are significant, but they are not everything. A well proportioned amount of preparation along with engagement in your everyday classes and activities will help you stay healthy and perform well on the exam.