How to effectively use practice SAT tests

Practice makes perfect, whether you’re a violinist or a student. Students studying for the SAT and other tests are encouraged to take practice tests and solve many of the same type of problem. But a violinist will get nowhere if he does not first learn where to place his fingers.

The same applies to SAT takers. Taking many practice tests will make you more familiar with test format and pacing. However, reviewing all material indiscriminately is of little benefit. Instead, practice tests should be used as a tool to help determine gaps in your knowledge. Fill in these gaps and you will begin to see better results in your SAT studies.

SAT Study GuideHow can you tell what need improvement? Try these three tips:

1. Group practice problems by type. Many practice books provide categories for each problem that define what’s being tested. Whether you are working with a tutor or alone, try working with themed days – test your geometry knowledge in one study session, algebra in another.

2. Once you determine your weakness, stop practicing, start relearning. At this point answering more of the same questions will no longer be helpful. Instead, step away from practice testing and learn the material. Spend time untangling topics you don’t understand.

For example, if you’re struggling with a particular part of algebra but excel at geometry, find geometry questions that use that algebra concept. If you need help finding the right questions, reach out to a teacher, tutor, or our instructors via the SAT Hotline.

3. Always be learning. You’re shopping for a new shirt that’s 20% off from 50% of the tag price. How much does it cost now? An interesting article you found online uses a word you don’t know. Can you figure out what it means from context?

You may not realize that you’re always learning. Surround yourself with ways to learn and you will find that you have more time to devote to the problem areas that require your attention.

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