Your SAT prep strategy can mean the difference between a great score and a mediocre score, as well as the difference between being accepted to or rejected by your school of choice. The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is a college entrance exam that measures a student’s knowledge and understanding of what they have learned up to this point in school and what they need to succeed in college. In addition to arming students with the knowledge they need to excel in the math, reading and writing components of the test, SAT prep can help improve scores by teaching students crucial strategies for taking the test itself. Professional SAT prep tutors can work with students one-on-one or in group sessions. Typically, tutors recommend that students who are comfortable and caught up with their regular schooling begin SAT prep at least three months before the test. If you’re targeting an elite school, six months before the test is a good time to begin. Students who are behind in school are advised to start early to ensure they’re caught up and feeling confident in all the relevant subjects. Suggestions for long-term SAT prep include taking challenging high school courses, completing all homework assignments, preparing for class tests and quizzes, and participating in class by asking and answering questions. There are free SAT prep training tools online; for those who’d like a one-on-one tutor to take them to the next level, the national average rate is $70 per hour.
As your child is preparing for the SAT, it’s helpful to know the specifics of the test. The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is made up of three main categories and one optional essay. Students have a total of three hours to take the test, with an additional 50 minutes for the optional essay. In total, there are 154 questions. During SAT prep, it’s helpful to take timed practice exams to understand how you’ll do during the actual test. Here is a brief overview of each of the four categories:
- Reading: 65 minutes with 52 questions. The Reading test measures command of evidence, words in context, analysis in history and social studies, and analysis in science.
- Writing and Language: 35 minutes with 44 questions. The Writing and Language test covers the same topics as Reading, as well as expression of ideas and standard English conventions.
- Math: 80 minutes with 58 questions. The Math test looks at the student’s understanding of algebra, problem-solving and data analysis, and advanced math in the context of fluency, conceptual understanding, and applications.
- Essay (optional): 50 minutes with 1 essay. The essay will demonstrate the student’s competency with writing, analysis and reading.
It’s never too early to start preparing for college entrance exams, but professional tutors recommend a baseline of at least three months before the test. The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is the gold standard for college admissions, and SAT prep is important for doing well. Your child’s SAT scores will have a major effect on which colleges send acceptance letters. Professional tutors can work with your kids to coach them on how to take the SAT, as well as studying the actual academic content. Doing well on the SAT is as much about knowing the right test-taking strategies as about having a firm grasp of the subject matter.
To understand your student’s readiness for the SAT, they can take the pre-SAT (PSAT) starting in their sophomore year. SAT prep can be structured around the student’s PSAT scores, so tutors can address any challenges and weak subject areas. If your child has their sights set on an Ivy League or elite school, SAT prep with a tutor or study program should start at least six months before the test. Vocabulary is a key element of the student’s SAT preparation and success. The national average rate for SAT prep tutoring is $70 per hour.