Chances are that at some point in your high school career, you will be faced with preparing for and taking standardized tests that will play a role in determining your college. While these tests, such as the SAT, may seem like a daunting task, we are here to help take some pressure off by offering some suggestions and tips.
The weight that a test score has on your college application varies by the school and the competitiveness of each respective college. For a highly competitive college such as Stanford, every SAT test you take is required to be sent in for review. At other schools, there are options to Superscore. This means you can send in your best math section score and your best english section score, even if they are from different test dates. Finally, there are more and more schools that are becoming “test optional," which means if you don’t feel your test scores represent you positively, you can choose not to send them in. The college will still review your application fairly but this provides a good option for students who may struggle with test taking.
A good resource to take advantage of are the electives that Port Jeff HS offers which are dedicated to SAT test preparation. Half the year is SAT Math and half the year is SAT Verbal. It is structured this way so you can take just one or both. This is a perfect way to get free instruction that is in school so you don’t feel pressured to spend your weekends studying or having to pay for a tutor.
There are other free options such as Khan Academy, which offers an online study plan. Khan Academy even links to your College Board account so you can receive individualized practice based on your PSAT and past SAT scores which is very helpful. Of course, whichever option works for you and your family will vary for each individual. However, there are definitely some keys to success that can help everyone benefit:
A commonly asked question is when to begin preparing for an SAT. Some students find that long-term study plans work whereas other students prefer to cram the week before. A fellow Current writer recommends trying to adapt to the test. The SAT is very specific to what they want and by using their practice questions and tests, this can help get you used to the types of answers they are looking for. The College Board offers an SAT book available for practice which has a bunch of practice tests and questions that can help you get familiarized with the structure and content of the test.
On the night before and day of the test, there are some crucial things that can make or break your test scores. You should make sure you are not stressing yourself the night before. Instead of over studying, make sure you eat a good dinner and get lots of rest. Prepare all necessary items, such as your calculator, admission ticket, and lots of pencils, to bring to your testing site so you are not rushing around in the morning. The morning of the test you should eat a filling breakfast and drink plenty of water so that you are hydrated and have enough energy to sustain yourself through the test, which will be about four hours.
Overall, try to not to stress! These tests are a part of life and everyone is feeling the same nervousness you are. Try your best and put an answer for each question (there is no penalization for wrong answers.) I hope this helped a little bit and best of luck on your next exam!