SAT is just round the corner. And while the ideal situation would be to have a good three months to do all the preparation needed, not all of us have that kind of time at hand.
We would ideally not recommend this quick-fix, one month plan to any student unless they are facing dire circumstances. You would need a good 2 to 3 months to prepare thoroughly for the SAT. But hey, we know that some of you are actually in a life and death scenario!
So while this plan is certainly not a magic pill, it will help you make that much-needed improvement in your score.
Week 1: Create a detailed study schedule and calendar
One month is not a lot of time – it would pass off in a jiffy. If you do not have a realistic and rigorous plan to utilize this time effectively, you can feel unprepared and anxious. This is why a study calendar is crucial. It can also help you feel more accountable towards your goal of cracking the SAT and can take away unwanted distractions.
Note: Be realistic when preparing your calendar. Setting lofty targets and not being able to fulfil them will only do more harm to your morale. Do not forget to account for your school work, course work, and other regular activities and commitments in the calendar.
Take SAT mock tests and simulate the conditions of the actual SAT. At Jamboree, we have a series of 8 SAT mock tests that rigorously assess your question solving and time management skills. Check your mock test scores and thoroughly evaluate your strategies for answering all questions, even those that you got correct. Analyze whether the questions that you got right were mere guesses or well thought-of answers.
Maintain an error log of all the incorrect answers, and note the precise reason that you answered them incorrectly. Did you not understand the question well? Did you misread the options? Did you make an error in calculation? Were you not aware of the formula or process to solve the question? While you might wonder why you must maintain an error log, you will soon realize that this documentation of your weaknesses will help you overcome them better.
The score that you get on this test might be low for obvious reasons. However, you must remember to not get bogged down by it. This would possibly be the least that you would score. You will only rise higher from here!
The more important lesson is for you to understand the various SAT topics and assess your current proficiency level.
Pick authentic SAT study material and begin work on strengthening your conceptual knowledge, especially in those areas that you have not scored well. Your error log will help you understand your areas of improvement. Apart from the official study material from the College Board website, you can use the Jamboree study material.
Week 2: Work on strengthening your concepts
This week is focused on working hard on building a strong foundation for acing the exam. So, be prepared to burn the midnight oil! Put in those extra hours!
Learn your grammar rules to get better with the SAT Writing and Language section. Practice reading comprehensions, identify the specific question types, and learn the strategies to answer them to ace the SAT Reading section. As for SAT Math, ensure that you work on all your basic maths concepts. You might want to work on two sections each day rather than all three to focus better.
You can put in more hours over weekends. So, reserve the weekends for taking full-length SAT practice tests and for analyzing your performance. The more tests you take, the better you will get at the art of time management.
Do not forget to log your mistakes in your error log.
Week 3: Mix up the concept-building and mock tests
Now that you have spent around two weeks learning SAT concepts, you would feel more comfortable and confident in answering questions.
This week, you must aim to take more SAT mock tests than you did the previous week – one over the week and the other on the weekend. Remember that analyzing your performance on the exam will possibly take as much time as taking the test itself. If you are exhausted after taking the test, you might want to leave the analysis for the next day.
Here, we must emphasize the importance of evaluating your performance. How would Roger Federer become the greatest tennis player in the world if he did not know what was stopping him from moving forward?
You know, the path-breaking and maverick entrepreneur Elon Musk once said, “I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.”
This is exactly what reviewing your test does – makes you aware of what you have done, how you have done so, and how you can make it better.
Week 4: Review, take it easy, but don’t become complacent
By this week, you have finished what you had to study. Do not work on or learn any new concept in the final week before the SAT. It really does not help to cram at this point. The primary aim of this week is to review and do more review of your performance in the past week: you must look keenly at the error log that you have maintained all this while and review your problem areas.
Taking a couple of SAT mocks early this week would be a good idea.
And what do you do the day before the exam?
What do athletes do a day before their Olympic race? Do you think they exhaust themselves by practicing more? No! They rather give themselves the much needed rest that will help them go all guns blazing on the D-day!
So, a day before the exam you might rather want to focus on other factors that will help you be more confident during your exam. Here are a few pointers:
- Be certain that you are aware of and comfortable with all the exam instructions.
- Choose what you want to wear on the exam day.
- Ensure that your calculator is permissible and working well. Not all calculators are acceptable on the test day. To avoid any last minute panic, you must check whether yours is compatible with what is expected of you.
- Pack your bag. This must include your hall ticket, a valid photo ID, a calculator, and pencils. You might also want to carry a few snacks to give you that much-needed boost of energy in your breaks.
If not in a hurry, you might want to follow this 2-month plan to crack the SAT. For more help on preparation, feel free to reach out to our counsellors.
All the best!