Once registered for the Scholastic Assessment Test, the SAT, most students will embark on self-studying by sourcing papers online. Some will dive straight into intense practice or will sign up for an expensive batch of mostly group classes. Students can effectively prepare for SAT math by self-studying, as the IGCSE syllabus covers much of the content. However, approaching the Reading and Writing sections without guidance and strategy will not be as fruitful. Grade school curriculums are unlikely to have addressed the skills required for SAT English. This is particularly for students studying at International schools. whilst test-takers mostly score well at maths they tend to stagnate around a particular mark for English. Self-study is limiting as students honestly do not know how to improve and generic group classes will not address individual issues – so how do you go about preparing for the SATs?
WHERE DO YOU START
Book your first test date
plan to fit in with university application deadlines, and estimate that most students will attempt the test thrice. Current grade 10 students should consider August or September for their first attempt at the test to make use of the summer to study and not overlap with the transition to IB.
To be optimal, preparing for the SATs should start 12-14 weeks before the first attempt of the test.
Buy the official book published by the College Board. This is fundamental as it includes real tests and having a hard copy of the papers is key for annotating and mastering strategy.
Book core strategy coaching sessions
Book these with a professional tutor. Look for a hybrid program offering a mixture of group and solo classes. There is little point in embarking upon test practice unless you have been taught a clear Reading and Writing strategy. Motivated students should not need to block book group classes, just book the essential ones you need to learn the core concepts and approaches to different types of questions.
Follow it up with an Independent Study
Embark upon a self-study program alongside guidance from a professional tutor.
Book personalized SAT coaching sessions
These sessions are where mistakes are analyzed, doubts clarified and personal strategies refined. The Reading and Writing element particularly requires a personalized approach with an effective and proven methodology at the onset, followed by independent practice supported by a detailed evaluation of errors. This is key to preparing for the SATs.
Once concepts and strategies have been understood. Practice passages, timing each one gradually building up to the whole English section, and then complete papers. Practicing as many papers as possible is essential, however, starting the preparation too early and without individual guidance can be futile. To improve through test practice, something in the approach has to be modified which can only be done by personalized review and evaluation of mistakes through individual coaching.
Make use of free resources such as Official SAT® Practice on Khan Academy using Free Official SAT Practice Tests | SAT Suite of Assessments in tandem with personalized coaching.
FUTURE ATTEMPTS AT THE TEST
Most International Students will take at least a second attempt at the test – understandably, it is a difficult test!
- Start preparing for the SATs about 8 -10 weeks before the test, depending upon proximity to previous attempts and school deadlines.
- Buy an additional book of practice papers such as Barron’s SAT prep book.
- Book 3-4 personal coaching sessions to evaluate previous results, and review and refine personal strategy.
- Practice papers following a sound strategy and individualized review and correction of mistakes
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