This site is based on the fact that the SAT is a very predictable test. With the right tools, it can be studied for, and you can dramatically increase your score!
Where to begin
If you haven’t already taken the SAT, take a practice test under timed conditions. You can find a practice test in the College Board booklet provided by your school. You can also purchase The Official SAT Study Guide written by the makers of the test, which includes eight full-length practice tests. Better yet, take their online SAT practice test. It provides detailed feedback on the problems you missed.
Once you’ve taken the test, you’re already familiar with the format. Being familiar, though, is not enough. You need to know the test. For example, in the critical reading section, is it OK to base an answer on what is implied in the passage instead of what is stated? Or in the math section, if a figure does not state whether it’s drawn to scale or not, can you assume it is?
Many students light up when they learn the SAT gives them math formulas. In reality, most students would be better off if the formulas were not provided. You’re wasting precious time if you need to flip back to those — memorize them! By the way, the answers to both questions above are “yes.”
There are three components that will help you increase your score on the SAT:
Master the basic skills. The skills required for the math section are laid out clearly in Spark Notes’ SAT skills. Learn these skills and more importantly, master them. You can find skill-based practice problems in Peterson’s Guide to the New SAT.
Learn test-taking strategies. There are six essential SAT strategies. One of them, along with examples and video solutions, is covered in detail in SAT math strategies.
Set your pacing plan. Many people think they need to finish a section in the given time in order to maximize their score. That’s what they say to do in school, right? Unless you’re shooting for a 2400, there is no reason for you to answer every question. (By the way, you can still get a “perfect” 2400 if you miss or skip a few because they “curve” it.) For a detailed description of how to set your optimal pacing plan, view day 1 in my free five-day e-course.
You can obtain the same score in a given section two ways: by rushing through the entire section at the expense of making careless errors, or by slowing down and knowingly omitting the harder problems. Visit SAT preparation to help you develop a target score and pacing plan.
Where to spend your study time
After you’ve mastered the basic skills, learned new SAT strategies and come up with a pacing plan, it’s time to practice, practice, practice. Don’t fall into the trap of simply taking timed test after test. That would be like playing four-hour baseball games over and over when you need to improve your hitting. Go to the batting cages! Practice what you need to improve.
It’s great to take timed tests as part of your study plan, but get more specific in your practice if you really want to score higher on the SAT. Focus on the problem types you get wrong in your practice tests. Only once you’ve learned and practiced new skills, as well as strategies, should you invest more time in taking another timed practice test.