When should you start studying for the SAT?

I was recently approached by the mother of a 7th grader about SAT tutoring for her child. That got me wondering, is it ever too early to start studying for the SAT?

SAT BeginningsMy answer is start early but not too early.

We sometimes forget that SAT prep is always going on – by attending school, reading, even shopping, you are absorbing skills that will be tested on the SAT. Good test prep should be a supplement, and shouldn’t take away from school, athletics, and home harmony.

I’ve said this before, but here is what the ideal study schedule looks like:

  • 9th / early 10th grade: Start choosing test prep method (research books, find tutor, etc).
  • 10th grade: Take the PSAT to determine your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Mid to late 10th grade: Fine tune academic, social, athletic plan of action.
  • Summer after 10th grade: Prepare for PSAT/SAT – fill content gaps, develop understanding.
  • 11th grade: Nail the PSAT. Brush up on SAT material. Take the SAT as early as October and be done with the SAT no later than Spring 11th grade.
  • Summer after 11th and 12th grades: Start your career. Yes, NOW! Attend recruiting camps, volunteer in your chosen field of service, maybe even create a startup.

This plan of action will help you get on track and be prepared to ace the SAT when the time comes. Cramming at the beginning of 12th grade while deciding on colleges and juggling school work and athletics is the pits.  It is not only ineffective, it will also cause unnecessary stress.

You might notice that the best time for the most intensive SAT prep is during the summer between 10th and 11th grade. To find out why, check out how SAT prep can hurt your score.

???? Be the First to Get the New Books!

You'll get messages about once a month based on how quickly I can write (or revise).
Read more in our privacy policy

Leave a Comment