How To Determine Your Average SAT Study Time

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If you want a high score on the SAT, then you need to put in the hours. There’s no way around it. The best thing to do is to accept the time commitment and start finding those free hours.

One of the hardest things to do in SAT prep is literally finding the time. Here’s how to determine your own average SAT study time.

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3 Factors That Determine Weekly Study Time Availability

How many hours a week you can spare is determined by a variety of factors.

Let’s discuss them below:

What Extracurriculars Are You Involved In?

Extracurriculars are important, but they take up time.

You need extracurricular activities on your college applications. However, you need to balance out your schedule with SAT studying.

Sports, band, or other clubs eat up considerable hours outside of the classroom. If your evenings are already taken, then weekend studying may be your only option.

If you don’t want to study on weekends, then waking up early before school for an hour per day works too.

What Are Your Target Schools?

How high a score you need also affects study time.

Are you looking to go to a state school or Ivy League? Go online to your target schools’ admissions websites.

Once there, look up the SAT median scores for admitted students. That score means that 50% of their admitted students were below it, and the other 50% were above it.

Think of it as your baseline score. If you can match it or improve upon it significantly, then your admission chances grow.

The more competitive a school is, the higher the median score. The higher that score is, the more hours you’ll likely need to invest in studying.

Are You Looking For Scholarships?

SAT scores help secure many different scholarships.

College is expensive and you have to find the money somewhere. If you want to avoid financial aid, then scholarships and grants are the places to look.

Many scholarships, whether local or national, require specific SAT score targets. Many schools offer their own scholarships too with similar criteria.

Go online and research various scholarships to figure out what score thresholds you must hit. You now have another baseline score target to focus on.

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Determine Your Weekly Available Hours

Break down an SAT prep timeline by your available free time.

How busy is your regular school week? Do you have five to six hours open at night after school? Or do you have two to three at most before sleep because of other activities and commitments?

Again, it’s recommended to spend at least 10 hours on dedicated SAT prep. Less time than that guarantees a lower score. However, it’s always better to dedicate more hours studying than not.

At Prep Expert, for example, students who enroll in a full 6-week course have 72 hours of dedicated SAT prep. Figure out:

  • Your 100% available hours per week
  • How far away is the next test date you want to attend
  • How many weeks you can dedicate those available hours to studying

Right there, you’ll know if you have enough bandwidth in your schedule or not.

Take A Practice Test For Baseline Score

Figure out how hard you need to study by taking an initial practice test.

There are available SAT practice tests online to take. Find one, set aside a number of hours to approximate testing conditions and take it.

Afterward, you should be able to receive an initial test score. Not only that, but you’ll immediately see which sections and questions give you the most trouble.

Compare that score against what you need for scholarships and your dream school median scores. Now you know how many points you must earn.

Estimated Hourly Point Improvement Rough Guide

Here are some rough estimates on how many hours are needed to improve certain point ranges:

  • 0-30 points: 10 hours
  • 30-70 points: 20 hours
  • 70-130 points: 40 hours
  • 130-200 points: 80 hours
  • 200-330 points: 150 hours

For example, let’s say you need to improve your baseline score by 150 points, then you should find around 75 hours to dedicate strictly to test prep.

Let’s say you have 5 hours a week open to focus on SAT test prep. Simply break those 75 total hours by 5, and you have 15 weeks.

That’s nearly 4 months of dedicated prep. Months of prep may sound like a lot, but getting the points you need for a paid-for education at a top school is worth the sacrifice.

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How To Determine Your Average SAT Study Time FAQ

What’s the first thing I should do to figure out how much I need to study?

Figure out how hard you need to study by taking an initial practice test. Afterward, you should be able to receive an initial test score. Not only that, but you’ll immediately see which sections and questions give you the most trouble. Compare that score against what you need for scholarships and your dream school median scores.

How many hours does it take to improve for higher points?

Here are some rough estimates on how many hours are needed to improve certain point ranges:
0-30 points – 10 hours
30-70 points – 20 hours
70-130 points – 40 hours
130-200 points – 80 hours
200-330 points – 150 hours

How can I determine how many hours I need to study?

Figure out:
Your 100% available hours per week
How far away is the next test date you want to attend
How many weeks you can dedicate those available hours to studying

How do I find out what SAT scores I need to get for my target schools?

Go online to your target schools’ admissions websites. Once there, look up the SAT median scores for admitted students. That score means that 50% of their admitted students were below it, and the other 50% were above it. Think of it as your baseline score. If you can match it or improve upon it significantly, then your admission chances grow.

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