SAT Exam Preparation – Proven Tips and Strategies

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“I marked the incorrect circle as my answer and I would like to change it. How can I do so?” 

Instead of asking this question to the SAT test center authorities and receiving a very stern look, it’s better to be prepared for the D-day with everything that you would need to know to give a successful SAT exam.

Keep scrolling through the article to get essential tips and strategies to improve your SAT preparation for each of the sections. 

How to prepare for SAT Exams in India

According to College Board, more than 1.5 million students registered for the SAT exam in 2021 alone.

While the SAT syllabus will remain the same for all these students, what will make you stand out from a million other students (quite literally) is how you plan your SAT preparation. Before making a plan to study for the SAT exams, it’s important to note down the total number of sections in the SAT, their duration and the number of questions asked in each section. 

SAT Preparation: Section-Wise Breakup of Exam

No. of SectionsName of the SectionDuration(in minutes)No. of Questions Asked
1Reading6552
2Writing & Language3544
3—3.1+3.2Math—SAT Math 1+SAT Math 280 —25+5558—20+38
Total3180154

Let’s take a look at a few general strategies that you can incorporate in your overall SAT preparation to answer each of the sections error-free on the exam day.

When to start your SAT preparation ?

SAT exams are conducted five times a year in India. You can choose any one of the five dates to register for the SAT exam in India. Ideally, you should start your SAT preparation 3 months before the final date of examination.

Create a SAT study plan for 3 months for the SAT involving 2-3 hours of study time every day. This will ensure you have ample time to cover the entire SAT syllabus, give practice tests and review your scores to improve your performance. 

Now let us break down the tips and techniques for each of the sections of SAT exam to help you prepare in the best way possible.

SAT preparation tips for Evidence-based Reading and Writing

The SAT evidence-based reading section contains 5 passages of comprehension reading and answering questions related to the text provided. From these passages, you are required to answer two types of questions – one is to complete the sentences and the other one is to directly answer the questions by choosing the best option from the passages.

This section has a total duration of 65 minutes consisting of 52 questions. This means that you will have less than a minute, 75 seconds to be precise, to answer one particular question from both sections. 

With such a rigid time crunch, how do you best manage your time to get all your answers correct? 

Follow the top 7 SAT preparation strategies listed below to ensure your evidence-based reading section scores the best marks.

  • Read carefully. With the clock ticking fast, many students rush through the options and select whichever seems ‘more appropriate’ instead of choosing the ‘most appropriate’. This may lead to incorrect answers. It’s important for you to read all the options carefully before you choose the final one. 
  • For the sentence completion section, read the sentence carefully and try to finish the sentence in your mind before going over the options. This will help you get a probable idea of the completed sentence and choosing the correct option will be quicker.
  • If you are able to understand the context of the paragraph, you will be able to comprehend the meaning of unfamiliar words.
  • Do not confuse yourself with double negatives. For example, the phrase “not uncommon” does not imply the subject being uncommon. Here, not uncommon actually has the opposite meaning, i.e, the subject refers to being common.
  • If a sentence is not making sense to you, you can use transition words such as ‘although’ or ‘similarly’ to arrive at a better solution. 
  • If any word or phrase does not match with your vocabulary understanding, it is best to relate those words or phrases to their root, prefixes or suffixes to figure out their meaning.
  • Try reversing your process of choosing the correct choice. Eliminate options that you are sure are incorrect to minimize your options to choose from.

SAT Preparation Tips for Writing and Language

The SAT writing and language section is one of the most crucial sections with more questions and less time, giving you less than 50 seconds to answer one question. The main goal of this section is to evaluate your critical reading, grammar and editing skills. You are given four passages of distinct lengths to comprehend their meaning and answer questions related to the passages.

These 7 quick SAT preparation tips will help you ace your writing and language section of the SAT exam in the most efficient way possible.

  • The first and foremost step you should take in this section is to get a clear idea of what the passage is about. This will help you immensely in choosing the right answers for most of the questions.
  • Pay keen attention to the italics text in the passages.
  • Go for the easy questions first and leave the tough ones for later. This will help you save time to think about the tough questions once you have answered all the easy ones.
  • Give to-the-point answers to the questions. Only mention what is being implied and don’t beat around the bush.
  • The first and the last sentences of each paragraph are most important. Read through these parts of the text carefully.
  • Most comprehension passages cover subject areas related to world literature, social sciences, fictional texts and other humanities topics. So, make sure you practice reading texts from each of these fields. You can also look up sample SAT questions for the reading section to get familiar with the type of questions asked in the final exam.
  • Read the text carefully on the first go so that you save time re-reading questions to land on the right answer.

SAT Preparation Tips for Essay Writing (Discontinued)

The College Board has discontinued SAT with Essay exams. The essay section tested your writing and language skills. It also evaluated your ability to proofread and edit the texts of the passage provided. 

Now, you must think that since SAT with essay is discontinued, are these skills not required?

These skills are very much required for ever applicant giving the SAT. But not all undergraduate course programs needs you to hone these skills as a primary requirement.  So, it is now up to each college whether to demand a supplemental or personal essay from you, based on your choice of a degree course.

SAT Preparation Tips for Maths

The Math section of SAT is divided into two parts – one where you are allowed to use a calculator and the other where you cannot use a calculator. You are tested in various areas of Mathematics including analytical thinking, data interpretation, logical reasoning, geometry, algebra and arithmetic

The first part of your Math section is called Student-Produced Response with a duration of 25 minutes consisting of 20 questions. You are not allowed to use a calculator in this section. 

Here are 4 SAT preparation tips for you to improve your math results:

  • Do not skip any questions. There are no negative markings for guessing answers so make sure you attempt them all.
  • If you arrive on multiple repeating decimals like .3333 and so on, then try to fit in as many as you can in the provided grid.
  • It is better to enter a fraction instead of a decimal of the fraction as it saves time and is equally correct.
  • Avoid putting in mixed fractions as your answer. Always convert it into a decimal or an improper or proper fraction (whichever is applicable). For example, if your answer is 5 3/7 then enter your answer as 38/7 or 5.43.

The second part of your SAT math section is Standard Multiple-Choice in which you can use a calculator if required. It has a duration of 55 minutes with a total of 38 questions

These 5 SAT preparation tips will help you get through this Math section smoothly:

  • Go through all Mathematics foundational concepts and practice sample questions for SAT Math as much as you can.
  • Make use of the text booklet to perform rough work for the questions.
  • The first set of questions are considered easier than the rest. So do not spend much time answering the first couple of questions of this section.
  • Try eliminating the incorrect options first to narrow down your options to choose from. This will help you save time and arrive at a solution more quickly than manually solving the sum.
  • You might feel tempted to finish off this section in a hurry but take a few seconds to fully understand the question before you mark your final answer.

SAT Preparation Study Material & Books

Study books are the best guiding tools to boost your SAT preparation. These books not only tell you how to plan your SAT preparation but also equip you with all SAT sample questions and test papers to help you practice as much as you like for the final day. 

Here is a list of the top 5 SAT exam prep books for you to choose from.

SAT Preparation Books

Book NamePublisher
BarronSAT Study Guide Premium 2021-2022
KaplanSAT Prep Plus 2022
KallisSAT Pattern Strategy, 3rd Edition
McGraw Hill EducationSAT Elite 2022
The Princeton ReviewSAT Premium Prep 2022

SAT Exam Preparation FAQs

Who can give the SAT exam?

The College Board has set no limit on taking the SAT exams. Anyone regardless of their age or background can register for the SAT.

How much is the SAT exam fee?

The SAT exam fee without an essay costs $104 and the SAT exam with an essay costs $117. 

What is the use of the SAT exam?

Students who wish to study abroad, in countries like the U.S.A, Canada and UK, to pursue an undergraduate degree benefit from taking an SAT exam. Some foreign universities have one of the mandatory criteria to evaluate a student’s application based on their SAT scores.

But SAT scores are not the only deciding factor. Your work experience, skill set and personality also play a major role in determining your selection at top universities. With Clever Harvey courses you can be at top of your game and acquire industry-relevant skills to turn your dream career into a reality! Work on projects certified by international brands such as PUMA, CultFit, Samsonite, etc. and build your profile larger than just your educational background!

How to apply for the SAT exam in India?

You can apply for the SAT exam on the official website of the College Board.

How many times can I give SAT exam?

There is no limit on the number of times you can take the SAT exam. You can apply for the SAT exams as many times as you want. However, you have to pay the registration fee each time you apply.

When is the next SAT exam in India?

SAT exams are scheduled for 12th March, 7th May and 4th June in the year 2022. 

What is a good score on the SAT exam?

A score of 1000 is considered average in SATs. A good score would be 1200 and above for the SAT exam.

Do we need a passport for the SAT exam?

Yes.To give the SAT exam you must have a passport. 

What to carry for the SAT exam?

A: On the day of the SAT exam, you must have these things:
Admission Ticket
Valid passport (or Aadhar card)
No.2 pencils – 2
An acceptable calculator

How many times is SAT exam conducted in a year?

The SATs are conducted 5 times in a year.

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