27 May 2012

How to Study One Week Before the SAT!

Eep! The June 2nd SAT is just about a week away! If you’ve stumbled across this blog post, you probably want to know: What is the best way to study a week before the SAT?

With only a week to study before the test, it’s unrealistic to aim for major score gains. Cramming is a terrible idea. Without making much progress, crammers will end up exhausted, frustrated, and discouraged just before the test. Less an image of success than of distress…

Instead of cramming, you should use this week to calm your nerves, get comfortable with the duration and cadence of the SAT, and review material learned early in your studies. If a few vocab words or a new math concept trickles in… great! If not, that’s OK too.

Here are some tips on what to do a week before the SAT. I hope you find them helpful!

1) Take a full-length practice exam, under timed conditions

— I know it’s grueling, but a full practice test a week before the SAT is as important as the dress rehearsal before opening night of a play. Use this test to finalize your timing strategy for each section, and get used to how it feels to sit for a four-hour exam.

2) Review this full-length practice test, making sure you understand every question answered incorrectly

— After a couple of days, return to your most recent full-length practice test and review every question answered incorrectly.
— Let your mistakes point you to the last concepts in need of review. Take some time to re-learn these concepts, and then re-solve incorrect questions to solidify your knowledge.
— Tip: If you’re stumped for the correct way to solve a question, let Google help you out! You can usually find detailed explanations to most questions in the College Board Official Guide to the SAT somewhere in cyber-space—just Google a few words from the question you need help with!
— Write down and look up any new vocab encountered on this test. Your final practice test is a great place to find the last vocab words you’ll want to study.

3) Continue to review and study vocabulary

Review the vocab you’ve been studying throughout test-preparation. This should be easy, as long as you’ve abided by a study plan that has you continually review & reinforce previously learned words.
— Keep learning new words, but don’t fry your brain trying to memorize every word in your vocabulary workbook. It’s simply too late to memorize 300+ new vocab words.

4) In preparation for the essay, read some newspaper articles and/or review notes on historical & literary sources

The SAT essay requires you to come up with examples fast. In addition, most SAT essay questions are fluid enough that you can manipulate just about any example to support your point. It’s generally a good idea to have a few examples from history, literature, or current events prepared in advance.
— Two days before the SAT: Review the plot of your favorite classic novel or an event from history. You can also read some newspaper articles if you plan to discuss the prompt in context of current events.

5) Review your notes on major grammar and math concepts

You’ve already studied these concepts and understand when to use them. Now is the time to review formulas and remind yourself of concepts learned early on, so your memory is fresh for the SAT.

6) Take it easy, and try not to stress!

Go to bed early every night during the week leading up to the SAT.
— Do something fun—but not wild—the night before the test. Maybe watch a movie or go out to dinner with a few friends.
— Gather your photo ID, admission ticket, pencils, calculator, snacks, and water so you’re prepared to head out on test day

Good luck on Saturday’s test. And remember—if things don’t go as planned, there’s still the October administration!

Glossary:
These Key SAT Words are Expertly Identified by Sentia Tutors

Cadence: rhythm; beat
Abide:
to continue in a particular condition, attitude or relationship

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