SAT Prep Guide For High School Seniors

“Standardized testing isn't perfect. In fact, some might say that it's designed to trip you up, mess with your mind, or generally convince you that you're not as smart as you think you are. But if you want to go to college, it's the only game in town. “ – Dawson’s Creek

Although I don’t typically like to show off my teenage addictions (I can pretty much quote every episode of Dawson’s Creek, and I have the annoyed friends to prove it), this quote was just too perfect not to impart to all you UChic-ers out there. With fall just around the corner, most high school seniors (and even juniors) are stressing out about those three little letters: SAT. So here are some tips to make sure you get that perfect score you (or your dream school) are looking for.

Practice makes perfect
If you’re really looking to get a good score on the SAT, you do need to do a bit of research. Even if you think you won’t need to study, look over a few prep books or search online for tips. Simply knowing the directions for the different sections (which haven’t changed in years) will save you time so you can focus on the questions that will score you much needed points.

When it comes to figuring out how to study, that is completely up to you. Do you love group projects or study sessions? Then talk to a few classmates and see if they’d be willing to meet once or twice a week and go over problems together. More independent? Pick up a few prep books at your local bookstore and set time aside each week to review them. If you’re in desperate need of tricks and strategies, consider taking a professional course through the Princeton Review or Kaplan. These courses meet either in person or online which make them convenient and dependable, but beware. They often come with a hefty price tag.  (Also– notice the one common factor in all of solutions? Putting in the study time!)

Stay calm
We’ve all been there. You go into a test, sit down and realize you know absolutely nothing. Pretty soon you’re internally yelling at yourself for not prepping hard enough or scorning your friends for tempting you out to see that new Ryan Reynolds movie, eventually putting the blame on Reynolds’ body for being too good to turn down. Well, that kind of thinking will get you nowhere with the SAT. You’ll not only waste time, but you also assume you don’t know anything on the test. The SAT is standardized, meaning that most of the material most students should have already learned. Go through each question and do your best narrowing down your answers. Staying calm and collected will help you keep focused on the test itself and making the best out of whatever situation you’re in.

Listen to your mother
Get your rest. Eat a good breakfast. Don’t go out partying the night before. All the things you’ve undoubtedly heard your mom say before a midterm apply to the SAT’s as well. Things as simple as these can help you feel your best for the test, and that can only improve your confidence level and ability to reach your goal.

Didn’t get the score you were hoping for?
Don’t beat yourself up over it. Yes, the SAT is important. No, it’s not the only thing that colleges look at during the admissions process. If you truly think an extra bout of studying or a few less distractions can make a difference in your score, then go ahead and retake it. Although the cost of registration is a bit pricey, it’s worth it if you think you can significantly improve your score. If you did the best you can and still aren’t satisfied, take a second and breathe easy. Work on building the rest of your resume. Keep your GPA up, stay committed to your extracurriculars and maybe add in some volunteer work. Most schools say that while SAT’s are a factor, they are most definitely not the only factor in admission. 

— By Kristy Shaulis

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