Studying alone: the best way to a successful SAT

Teens, especially upperclassmen, prepare for the SAT in many different ways.

By Saebean Yi, Editor–

Taking the SAT is a daunting experience for many high schoolers. As many students are busy with school, extracurriculars and other standardized tests such as the ACT and Advanced Placement tests, high schoolers need an efficient and effective way to prepare for the SAT.

There is no single best method for receiving one’s desired score. However, there are certain strategies that are deemed superior and may aid in achieving the score that one wants.

The best method is going over the practice tests or workbooks alone. Practice SATs are written in the same format as the official SAT, so it helps one reenact the test-taking experience as if he or she were actually taking the SAT. Additionally, since they run no more than $20, practice tests are an affordable option to most students.

Senior Jerry Guo, who received high scores on the SAT by studying by himself, appreciates the SAT prep books. “The main advantage of the [books] was that I could see what the test was like,” Guo said. “It also helped [me] on the reading and grammar portions […] since it explained what some questions were looking for.”

Khan Academy also offers free online SAT preparation, where one can take a diagnostic and helps students address their weakness and strengths. However, while online SAT test may be more efficient or practical to some, it defeats the purpose of acting out the real SAT and ignores subtleties like filling in bubbles.

Another alternative is to get tutored, whether it be by a professional or a friend who has previously taken the test. Nevertheless, tutors can be very costly and students may be too dependent on them.

Junior Ojas Sandhu, who plans to take the test in the spring, adds his view on tutoring. “With tutoring, there is someone there to help you with the things you don’t understand,” Sandhu said. “However, I personally find it less distracting when I’m studying by myself [and] I get a better idea of how [I]’ll do on the real test.”

Students should get a tutor to help with certain weaknesses and answer basic questions about the SAT but utilize self studying with workbooks as their main source of preparation.

However they study, students may still be incredibly nervous while or before taking the SAT. This may cause unnecessary stress to those who take it, not allowing them to answer questions with their fullest potential and confidence.

While students can’t reenact the exact atmosphere of the SAT experience, they shouldn’t be too nervous.

“Don’t worry too much [about] the SAT since you can always try again,” Guo said.

Guo himself has taken the test twice, improving his previous score.

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