SAT Preparation Tips 2021

Updated by: Subhashri Roy on Sept. 29, 2021, 1:59 p.m.

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How to Prepare for the SAT 2021

Preparation for any test, be it SAT or any other exam, can be stressful if it is not well-planned and interesting. But those who are struggling to begin with their SAT preparation, here are a few pointers that could be instrumental in making the test preparation easier.   

As recommended by the College Board, students must prepare for the SAT in a smart and straightforward manner. Preparing for the SATs should not take more than 16 weeks wherein you can divide the weeks into different sections under the SAT, followed by taking the SAT practice tests and finally repeating the same until the final test day. 

Students are advised to have a good understanding of the SAT Exam Pattern and  SAT Syllabus before beginning with the SAT 2021 preparation. 

Millions of students across the globe take the SATs every year as the first step towards their admission to the undergraduate degree programmes in different parts of the world, especially in the United States. SAT is an important test for admissions in some of the leading universities that accept SAT scores like the University of Central Florida, Florida International University, Florida State University, the University of South Florida among others. 

Want to Know How to Get a Good SAT Score?

Also Read:

More Than 1200 US Colleges Make SAT/ACT Optional  Popular Universities in the US Offering Admission Without SAT Scores
SAT vs. ACT: Which One is Right For You?  What is a Good SAT Score & How is it Calculated?

Preparation Tips for the SAT Reading Test

If you are looking to properly prepare for the SAT 2021 tests, then you can take a look at the following preparation tips for the SAT Reading Test, specifically.   

  • The SAT Reading Test questions or passages are extracted from previously published sources and are usually of a high standard. These extracts are commonly based on the subject area of the US and world literature, history/social studies, and science. The Essay passages are drawn from arguments written for a broad audience in the past. Students must make sure that they understand the tone of the author and what they are trying to mean before attempting the questions. 

  • While attempting this test, students will be required to be reasonable enough to make inferences and draw logical conclusions. It is always better to read between the lines and find a deeper meaning to the passage.

  • Few of the questions on this test will require the candidates to use the information given in the passages and derive suggested meanings from the passages. Try and improve your reading skills by reading more and more popular American passages to score well in this test.

  • While most of these passages will not be difficult, the ones that are will often include tough words and complicated sentence structures often indicating multiple meanings and information at the same time. These complex passages may be based on ideas like justice, freedom, etc. and might simply describe tangled relationships among different concepts. Make sure that you have a strong vocabulary and know how to use English words and phrases.

Preparation Tips for the SAT Writing and Language Test

Following Test preparation tips will help a candidate enhance their performance in SAT Writing and Language: 

  • Under this section, test-takers may be asked to choose words or phrases that express a specific idea in the best possible manner.

  • The test can be divided into two categories - Expression of Ideas including the revision of text for topic development; organization, logic, and cohesion; and rhetorically effective use of the English Language and Standard English Conventions including editing text following the standard convention of written English sentence structure, usage, and punctuation.

  • Under the category of Expression of Ideas, questions such as replacing a sentence with one that matches the original claim better and clearly, remove an example that’s not relevant to the passage’s central idea, choose between similar words with different connotations, combine two sentences effectively, etc. can be expected.

  • Under the Standard English Conventions category, questions may require you to recognize and/or correct the lack of parallelism in sentence construction, the inappropriate shifts in verb tense, voice, and mood and errors in pronoun person and number, Illogical comparisons of unlike terms, confusion between restrictive/essential and non-restrictive/nonessential sentence elements, Problems with using end-of-sentence punctuation or punctuation within sentences (particularly colons, semicolons, and dashes) to signal sharp breaks in thought, etc.

Preparation Tips for the SAT Math Test

Students can refer to the following points to improve their in SAT Maths section:

  • To do well in this test, emphasis should be put on problem-solving, modelling, using tools strategically and using algebraic structure.

  • Students should have a clear understanding of mathematical concepts and how they should be applied in the real world. 

  • Practice as many SAT Math practise tests as possible and build a good grasp of the different math concepts, operations, and relations.

  • Since the SAT Math Test allows students to use a calculator, candidates must learn how and when to use it. Some math problems do not demand the use of a calculator.

When is the Right Time to Appear for SAT?

Appearing for SAT can be a tough and challenging aspect for many students, however, a more challenging task in appearing for the renowned test is selecting the appropriate date. Choosing the right time will help students assess their capabilities of earning the right score, which is accepted by either Ivy League or Popular Universities in the US.

While there is no correct answer to this question, it is recommended, for Indian students aspiring to study abroad, to appear for the SATs in the months of September or October while appearing for their 11th class. This will allow the students to gauge their skills and knowledge on the different SAT subjects and study and improve their understanding of the weaker subjects. Students will then be able to appear for the SATs again in the months of April and May, at the start of their 12th class, which will leave the entire year for them to complete the application process to the university of their choice as well as complete the paperwork required to travel and study abroad.

However, many experts and previous SAT test-takers suggest taking SAT prep tests or PSAT in 10th, as it allows the students to gauge, prepare and enhance their skills and aim for the highest score in the SAT.

So here are some points to keep in mind while deciding the right time to appear for SAT.

  • Appear for SAT prep tests or PSATs in class 10th to gauge your skills and knowledge on the different subjects. (Optional)

  • Select a date between the months of September and October while studying in Class 11th. This is an important step that students should not miss as this will help students assess their weaknesses and strengths within the test.

  • If you are unsatisfied with the scores obtained in the first SATs, retake them in the months of April or May, at the start of your class 12th, thus allowing you enough and more time to apply and complete the documentation process to study abroad.

When is the Right Time to Start Preparing for the SAT?

While there is no one right time to appear for the SAT, there is a right time to prepare for the renowned tests. Many students start planning to study abroad way before they even enter high school. Therefore, they start preparing for the test as soon as possible.

However, there is a minimum time required to properly prepare to earn a good score, preferred by Ivy League and popular universities in the US. This can range anywhere between two to six months based on the study plan opted by the students. SAT candidates can choose to prepare for the test through an intense plan that spans over 10 hours a day for a duration of 2 months or choose to prepare a few hours each day for a span of 6 months. Many study-abroad experts claim these techniques to be the most effective in increasing one’s SAT scores.

However, an important thing to remember is that the learning of each candidate will be unique to them. Therefore, if you are planning to prepare and appear for the SATs, ensure that the study plan you have chosen is an appropriate learning method for you.

Here are some pointers all SAT aspirants should keep in mind while preparing for the test:

  • Select an SAT study plan, appropriate to your learning style, thus allowing you to improve your skills and understanding of the different subjects.

  • Prioritise the weaker sections of the SATs and assign more time for the preparation of these subjects.

  • Start preparing for your SATs as per the Study Plan you have chosen for your preparation for the test.

SAT Study Plan for Ivy League Universities in the US

Studying at one of the Ivy League universities in the US is a dream for many students, not only in America but students from all over the world. Ivy League universities are one of the most sought after universities and these higher education institutions select only highly qualified and high-scoring students of the world.

Since these universities are tough to be enrolled in, students usually will have to follow an intense study plan that focuses on scoring the highest score possible. If you plan to enrol in one of the US Ivy League Universities, then it is recommended to set a base score without preparing for the test, and then planning your study schedule and plan accordingly.

It should be noted that many universities in the US have started to drop the requirement for SATs and ACTs this year as a result of the pandemic closing down many of the testing centres across the world. However, a few Ivy League universities may still accept SAT scores, therefore, it is important that you check the admission requirements specified by the university itself before applying for admissions.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind while preparing SATs for admission to Ivy League Universities in the US.

  • Set a base score, for example, an SAT score 1800 to 1900 is a good base SAT score for any student to start preparing for the test.

  • Select an intensive SAT Study Plan to ensure that your receive the best score.

  • Attempt as many Prep SATs and Mock SATs to help gauge your progress and overall skills and understanding over the different topics and subjects of the test.

  • Attempt a PSAT in Class 10th, and mock tests before appearing for the first official SAT in 11th around September or October. If unsatisfied with the test scores, attempt the SATs around April or May to improve your score further.

FAQs on SAT Preparation

1. How can I prepare to score well in the SAT?

Thorough understanding and reading of the question paper, attempting easier questions first, attempting mock tests and practice papers, are some of the ways you can prepare to score well in the SAT.

2. How to prepare for SAT Reading Test?

To prepare for the SAT Reading Test, some of the key preparation methods you can try, include - reading more books, especially by American Authors to improve your vocabulary and your understanding of phrases and words, while, enhancing your ability to draw conclusions to small passages as well.

3. How to prepare for the SAT Writing and Language Test?

Practice writing small passages on relevant topics to effectively communicate your ideas and also brush up on the basic structure, usage and pronunciation of the English Language.

4. How to prepare for the Writing and Language section of SAT?

For the Writing and Language section of SAT, you can work on your ability to recognise and correct sentence structure and grammar, punctuation, illogical comparisons and ineffective sentence formation.

5. How do I prepare for Mathematics in SAT?

An important strategy required in preparing for the Mathematics section in SAT is to attempt as many practice papers as possible, focusing on problem-solving methods, algebraic techniques, etc.

6. Since I can use a calculator, is it necessary to practice Mathematics extensively?

While the provision of using a calculator is available, there is limited time and the ability to use the correct theorems, techniques and methodologies stem only from practice. Therefore, spend more time on preparing for the Mathematics section in the SAT 2021 tests.

7. What are some general preparation tips and tricks to attempt the SAT?

One of the most important preparation tips and tricks for the SAT is to attempt practice papers both offered by the College Board and other reliable sources. This will help you assess your skills and knowledge regarding the different topics and help you take the steps to improve your SAT scores.

8. What do I do if I do not have enough time to prepare for SAT? 

Brushing up on certain important topics, especially mathematical reasoning, will help you still improve your chances of scoring well in SAT. You can also attempt practice question papers or sample papers to understand the kind of questions and answers that can be expected. Attempting the questions papers will also help you understand which topics within a section hold more importance over others.

9. How do I improve my speed for completing the SAT test in time? 

If you wish to improve your speed for completing the SAT, then the best solution is to time yourself while you attempt practice papers.

10. Can I prepare for the SAT in 10 days?    

It does not matter how many days you spend preparing for the SAT. 10 days can be enough if you spend a good amount of time on it every day and prepare smartly rather than covering every topic in the syllabus.

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