Using the Summer to Prepare for the SAT

With summer break already half over, many students are beginning to think about the upcoming academic year, and about what they can do to prepare.

One of the best ways to alleviate the stress of the upcoming year is by studying for the SAT over the summer.  Although the SAT is touted as a test of inherent intelligence, the fact is that it is a very learnable test.

Given enough time, good resources, and some guidance, it is possible to significantly improve one’s score on this daunting exam.

What to do

The SAT has 10 sections and covers your student’s writing, reading, and math skills.  In my years as a SAT prep tutor I’ve researched many different resources and have found the following to be most beneficial for each subject area.

Best Comprehensive Review

College Board Official SAT Study Guide, 2nd edition – If you get only one book, get this one.  This book, written by the makers of the SAT, contains 10 real SATs that were administered in the past.  Practicing actual questions is the best way to prepare.  The SAT tends to recycle very similar concepts in slightly different contexts, so by doing every test in this book, your student will become so familiar with the way that the SAT poses questions that come testing day he/she will be comfortable and prepared.

Best Writing Resource

Up Your Score is a tremendous book for the writing and vocabulary sections of the test.  Written by a group of perfect scorers who’ve gone on to study at Ivy League colleges, this book has a humorous, down to Earth tone that my students have really enjoyed. Within it are 13 rules for improving your score on the grammar portion of the test, and they cover the most common writing errors that will be tested.

Best Math Resource

Acing the New SAT I Math is available at the Greenhall Publishing website, and is the most comprehensive math review I’ve found.  It’s broken down concept by concept allowing your student to focus on those concepts that are most troublesome.  Hundred of practice problems ensure that your student fully grasps each concept.

Begin by having your student take the very first test in The College Board’s Official Study Guide.  This will help you to determine his/her strengths and weaknesses and design a study plan accordingly.  Preparing for the SAT can be time-intensive, so the summer break presents the best opportunity to really put in the prep time that this important exam demands.

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