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Self-Studying for the SAT

Though the SAT isn’t the main player in determining juniors’ college careers anymore, most still see an advantage in submitting scores to test-optional schools.

A great majority of these students will opt to self-study when they see the pricey SAT classes being offered. There are benefits to both and deciding on which route to take will depend on the type of learner a student is.

There are many options under self-studying, including SAT prep books, online resources like Khan Academy, and practice tests provided by College Board. Regardless of the resources available, the student who wants to take on this task must be willing to have discipline and perseverance.

Studying for the SAT via a prep book requires consistency. Plan out how many pages to read and study before the test, take notes on important strategies, and try out these strategies on a practice test. Always focus and learn from mistakes during a practice session.

A student can also use free prep material provided by Khan Academy, which is partnered with College Board. After submitting a PSAT score or taking a diagnostic test, the website creates a study plan based on the topics that a student missed frequently on their previous test, which helps target and strengthen students’ weaknesses. There is also a section of the page that has full-length practice tests, where students can practice with the real length and timing.

If a student feels the need to have a teacher or tutor available to them to keep them on track with their studying and practicing, an SAT class is another option. There are a variety of different courses that can be found with a simple Google search. Most SAT class websites also have reviews from other students, so make sure to read those to get a feel of what that particular class will look like. Whether it’s a group class or a one-on-one class, an SAT class offers a better sense of accountability, as well as the benefit of having a person who is open to questions and can explain concepts in a more personalized way.

When a student feels comfortable with SAT-style questions, they should set a timer and gradually work towards the time limit located at the top of each of the four sections of a practice test; a YouTube mock proctor video can also be helpful.

While a more self-motivated student may opt to self-study, a student who is looking for more personalized help may enroll in an SAT class. Both require time and practice and will help that student reach their target score.


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