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8 Best Ways To Prep For The SAT Test By Using Free Practice Materials Online

Knowing how to use SAT prep courses, books and free SAT prep materials will let you walk into the test fully prepared and ready to succeed. Avoid wasting your time with poorly planned, inadequate or inefficient study strategies or spending a fortune when you register for SAT prep classes.

According to Laurence Bunin, a College Board senior vice president, familiarity with the official SAT exam provides the most substantial short-term gains in SAT scores. Gains from a SAT prep book, tutoring, expensive course or class are much lower, regardless of claims of guaranteed score improvements. Use your SAT preparation time wisely by creating a smart, efficient and functional test strategy during your study time that you can implement during the SAT test. Explore online resources to find sample tests, reading passages and practice questions to increase your familiarity with the test and make a strategy that is right for you.
  1. Determine Your Target Score.
    Take and score a free online practice test to assess your own abilities. Look at your preferred colleges’ acceptable score range. Your goal score should meet your college admission needs, but be within reach, with good preparation. Having a goal score allows you to plan a test-taking strategy.

  2. Master SAT Timing.
    Each section of the SAT is timed. You’ll have a total of 3 hours and 45 minutes for the test, including six 25-minute sections, two 20-minute sections, one 10-minute section and a 25-minute essay section. Free online test prep resources let you develop a smart timing plan, based on your own strengths. Learn to skim the material and answer the easiest questions in each section first, very quickly. Answer the medium questions next, and depending upon your test strategy and target score, leave time for the hard questions or answer only those you have time to answer or can answer correctly. Time your SAT study sessions and practice time for the most effective prep.

  3. Create A Personal Plan To Meet Your Target Score.
    Depending upon your target score, you may simply plan to skip some or all hard questions to focus your time and attention on questions you are more likely to get right. You can skip up to 10 critical reading questions and up to six math questions and still score 700 on each section of the SAT. For a 600, you can skip up to 21 questions on the critical reading and 17 on the math section. With the wrong answer penalty, skipping a question is sometimes a smarter solution.

  4. Make An Educated Guess.
    The SAT includes one to two obviously wrong or easily eliminated answers on most questions. If you can eliminate two answers, your chances of a correct answer move from only 20 percent to 33 percent. The College Board scoring system for the SAT penalizes wrong answer with a 1/4-point deduction so limiting wrong answers is essential. If you can’t eliminate at least one to two answers, you are better off skipping questions than answering them.

  5. Dodge The SAT Traps.
    Many questions include at least one answer intended to trick or confuse you. You can dodge this trap by taking a few seconds to formulate a possible or approximate answer in your own head before you review the answers. Choose the answer most compatible to yours, rather than one that disagrees with it.

  6. Avoid Careless Errors.
    Learn to quickly check your work, either online or on paper. Use printable free online SAT preparation materials some of the time to avoid errors caused by working on paper, rather than on-screen.

  7. Recognize Your Weaknesses.
    Choose practice test resources that allow you to see the correct answer, as well as an full explanation for the answer. Knowing your own weaknesses helps you to create the smartest test strategy.

  8. Gain Specific Skills.
    When you know what you’ve gotten wrong, take the opportunity to master a missing skill. Use online resources, textbooks, study guides or even your high school teachers to help you brush up on what you’re missing.
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Sources

  • [1] http://www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/prepare/tips/
  • [2] http://www.ets.org/Media/Tests/TOEFL/pdf/TOEFL_Tips.pdf, p. 38
  • [3] Tovani, C. 2004. Do I Really Have to Teach Reading? Content Comprehension, Grades 6-12. Stenhouse Publishers, Portland, Maine.
  • [4] http://www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/scores/improve/writing_based_knowledge_good
  • [5] Carrell, P. L., Dunkel, P., & Mollaun, P. (2002). The Effects of Notetaking, Lecture Length, and Topic on the Listening Component of TOEFL 2000. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.
  • [6] http://www.slideshare.net/tefl/three-strategies-to-gain-points-on-the-speaking-tasks