The Top 5 Steps to Smarter SAT Prep

The most frequent mistake made by people preparing to take the SAT–after not studying enough–is studying in a sloppy, haphazard manner. The more care you take in the early stages of your preparation for the SAT test, the better the end result. Set demanding yet reasonable goals for your SAT experience, then summon the necessary self-discipline to follow through.

1. ASSEMBLING YOUR MATERIALS An informed approach to SAT preparation begins with checking the College Board’s website ( for testing dates, locations and registration procedures. After that, you should buy (or borrow from a library or friend) an SAT test prep book. You’ll also want to have an appropriate calculator, a notebook, plenty of paper and writing utensils, and a space (or two) conducive to concentrated study.

2. DIAGNOSIS & PRESCRIPTION Using both your SAT prep book and the materials availabl e at Sat Prep Plan (, assess your strengths and weaknesses. Then set your goals (one of which should be a deep familiarity with the SAT test’s overall structure, types of questions, and directions), and design a study plan that best fits your situation. These first two steps should be completed as quickly as possible in order to allow the maximum time for actual SAT preparation.

3. GOING SOLO VS. TEAMING UP Deciding which resources to use, and in what combination, marks a critical step in your SAT preparation agenda. A number of prominent companies offer comprehensive SAT test prep courses, but they may not fit your budget, schedule, or study needs. In addition to consulting the resources provided at, you should consider the value of teaming up with a friend or two (often, having partners in any long-term, strenuous activity keeps everyone’s momentum going), and /or hiring an SAT tutor.

4. A MATTER OF TIME Taking into account the SAT test dates you found in Step 1 and your other commitments, map out a weekly study schedule. You might find it helpful to alternate between working on sections of the SAT test, as well as between material that’s easier and harder for you. Set periodic deadlines for achieving your goals, but bear in mind that you may need to adjust them. Also note that a smaller number of long study sessions are less helpful than a greater number of shorter ones. Finally, pay special attention to how you’ll prepare during the week of the SAT test itself.

5. HELP ON A BUDGET The SAT test is expensive enough. It doesn’t take a great deal of time or effort to maximize your SAT preparation dollar. For example, websites like offer a variety of resources at no charge. With so many students taking the SAT test each year, it shouldn’t be t oo difficult to locate used (but recent) versions of SAT prep books. You can also make your own flash cards, take several free SAT practice tests, and register to have the College Board’s SAT “question of the day” sent to you via email – all at little or no cost.

About the author:

Author: Bruce Smith
Bruce L. Smith is an experienced SAT content creator for SAT test practice site