If you are a high school sophomore or junior, then you are probably preparing to start the college process. This means taking the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), the ACT (American College Testing Assessment), or perhaps both; taking several SAT II tests (shorter standardized tests focused on a specific subject); and writing your college applications. You choose whether to take the SAT or ACT: in the past East and West Coast colleges have traditionally preferred the SAT, and colleges in the rest of the states favored the ACT, but this division is changing. Every college will now accept either SAT or ACT scores, and you can choose the test that best displays your strengths.
If you choose to take the SAT, studying over the summer can pay off. Since you will not have to be in class every day, you won't have academic obligations that will require your time. It will be difficult to balance your school work and test prep in the fall, so start studying now!
summer sat prep | Simple Ways to Prepare
One of the best strategies for summer study is to work through a test prep book for a small amount of time each day. Trying to cram three months of studying into the weekend before your test date will not work well, so pacing your studying throughout the summer is a great way to keep your brain sharp. Take a practice test at the very beginning of the summer so you have a way to measure your improvement, then work through the book for a half-hour or so per day. Most test prep books have close to ten practice SAT exams, so you can take a new practice test every two weeks to see how your scores have changed. There are detailed answer explanations which can help explain mistakes you make, and reading through these explanation sections will help you find out your problem areas.
A simple way to keep yourself on track is to sign up for the SAT Question of the Day, a free email service from College Board. Every morning, you'll get one multiple choice question emailed to you, and once you select your answer, you can see if you were right or wrong, along with a detailed explanation of what you may want to work on if you were incorrect. This low-key studying method is perfect for sophomores; as many students take the SAT at some point in their senior year, the question of the day is a great way to become familiar with SAT questions, without the stress of a looming exam.
SUMMER SAT PREP | Studying Options: Self-study, Private Tutor, or SAT Class
When the time comes for more intensive test prep, most likely the summer before you plan to take the SAT, you have several study options. You can sign up for an SAT class over the summer, work with a private tutor, or get some SAT prep books to work through on your own. In order to choose the option best for you, think honestly about the kind of student you are. A highly-motivated student who prefers to work independently will benefit most from self-study or a private tutor, while a student who needs routine assignments and more guidelines may want to explore a classroom setting. Each option has its own benefits: self-study is generally cheapest and most flexible, a private tutor can focus on your specific needs, and a SAT class lets you learn with your peers.
Regardless of the method you choose, make the most of your summer, because you will have considerably less free time once school starts again. The more familiar you become with the SAT over the summer, the easier it will be for you to find your problem areas and improve. With three months of prep before your test, the SAT will seem much less intimidating.