Top 8 Tips and Tricks to Gear Up for the SAT

Top 8 Tips and Tricks to Gear Up for the SAT

What is SAT?

The term “SAT” stands for Scholastic Assessment Test. The SAT examination is a patterned test extensively used for college admissions in the United States. This test is conducted to examine a student’s ability of reading, writing and mathematics which are the basic subjects taught in high school classrooms everyday. This examination is a globally acknowledged admission test mostly taken by students during their junior or senior year of high school. The SAT score is acceptable by almost all the colleges and universities across the United States for granting admission to the students. 

What are the steps to crack the SAT examination?


1. Enroll for the Test

As a student, the first step towards taking up the SAT examination is to create an account and register yourself. Choose the desired location and date as per your convenience. Ensure to select an examination date which is most suitable to you and allows you to prepare for the Test thoroughly.

2. Familiarize yourself with the Test structure, content and examination format

Before we dig into the Test preparation, it is essential for you to become oriented to the overall Test structure. The SAT comprises of 1600 points which is divided into two portions: 800 points for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (made up of a Reading test and a Writing test), and 800 points for the Mathematics section. You need to score a minimum of 400 points (200 on each section). The essay section is optional.  Each domain comprises of 8 points, making the max essay score to 24.

The Test is divided into three broad sections: Writing/Reading, Mathematics, & an optional Essay. The exam duration is 3 hours and 50 minutes, excluding breaks. 2 breaks are allowed : 

(i) 10-minute long, and (ii) 5 minute long.

The test is organized in the below format:



Number of Questions

Time Allotted (minutes)






Writing & Language




Math (without Calculator)

20 (5 Grid-in)



Math (with Calculator)

38 (8 Grid-in)



Essay - optional





154 (155 including Essay)

180 (230 alongwith Essay)

The SAT has a particular method of asking questions and you have to familiarize yourself with it. Remember that each section has its own specific set of question types and formats that you will encounter on the Test day.

3. Analyse your shortcomings

Once you have oriented yourself with the Test contents and format, try to figure out your weaknesses. Test your knowledge by taking up a complete timed simulated mock test.

Fortunately, there are few practice tests which have been released by the College Board. Taking up these tests would give you a fair idea where you stand in terms of your abilities and which are the areas you need to brush up your skills.

4. Set up a Target Score and Design a Study Schedule

Post capturing your weaknesses, try to set up a target score. Try to work a goal which can be pragmatically accomplished.  Setting up the score target ain’t enough. Make special efforts to design your study schedule and devote a balanced amount of time every week while preparing for the Test. Make sure to allocate definite period of time for special preparation. Maintain a tracker of your study calendar and keep updating it as you proceed closer towards the examination date. This would push you to maintain a systematic balance in your Test preparation.

5. Revise Important Points and Content

Once you have a score goal and study schedule in place, it’s important that you need to review and revise the course content. Focus on weak areas first, and find ways to capture them. Devise a plan and concentrate on areas which are more important and need more attention and care. This would sufficiently prepare you for the Test and boost your morale to take it up with utmost confidence. For example, if you are weak in Vocabulary, boost it up by reading SAT passage-based questions and try to focus on learning a list of words per day. Not only would this improve your eloquence, but also help you to use more refined language in college, scholarship and high school essays.

6. Devise Test Strategies and Time Management

It is extremely important that you come up with strategies to approach the Test. This should be designed in such a way that you do not miss out on the crucial key segments of the Test. Try to keep a close check on the time that you take to complete a timed simulated mock test. This would give you a fair idea how to manage your time for each section proportionately during the final Test. Strategize what works for you and implement accordingly. 

7. Practice more

We have heard the saying, “Practice makes a man perfect.” Practice is a very important key to succeed in the SAT examination. As a student, you can hone your skills and score good grades only through practice. Try to develop test-day conditions and implement it in your studies. Adopt written practice exams with timed sessions. Remember to refer College Board questions only and jot down your responses in the test booklet accordingly. This would enhance your skills and also boost your confidence to take up the Test with comfort and ease.

8. Be Prepared for the Test day

Finally your time and efforts that you have invested for the exam is all that matters. A day before the exam, make sure to implement the best test-taking strategies like eating a healthy meal and sleep well, stay relaxed and pack your bag properly. Take a deep breath and you are up for the challenge.


Taking up the SAT can be extremely intimidating. Your fellow peers and teachers may have even discussed about the criticality of the exam and its impact on your future. Sit back and relax! Don’t stress yourself.  It's not an impossible task to score well on as long as you put in your hard work. Having a clear idea of what you'll need to know and applying smart study game plan will definitely go a long way towards helping you to do your best.

Good luck!!!