How To Prepare For The SAT | 8 Quick Tips

Free Classes
Learn more about the SAT and ACT, College Admissions, and Scholarships
Free Class

How to prepare for the SAT? Thousands of students ask themselves that question every year. The full answer is expansive, but these eight tips are a great place to start.

While going through the SAT prep process, it’s easy to get stressed out near the end though. If that happens, here are a few extra tips on how to keep focused right before test day.


How To Prepare For The SAT – 8 Tips To Start

Memorize The Essay Prompt Beforehand

You’ll save time to use for writing.

The SAT Essay prompt takes a lot of time to read if you’re not familiar with it beforehand. However, after multiple exams now, the prompt is exactly the same.

Work on memorizing the prompt before your test date when doing your test prep. When test day arrives, you’ll have the prompt down, so you can immediately start writing out your argument. That extra time lets you review your logic and examples.

Show Off Your Vocabulary

Use high-level vocabulary words in every essay paragraph.

One way to ensure a high score is by using some advanced vocabulary words in every paragraph. When your grader sees those advanced words, you will receive credit for their correct usage. However, if you only use those vocabulary words once or twice, then there’s a chance they aren’t noticed.

Don’t Become Too Dependent On Your Calculator

Know how to solve Math section problems without using your calculator.

Calculators are very helpful when you can use them. However, when you don’t write out your problem-solving steps you’re likely to miss an important detail.

Also, you’ll panic if you reach a problem that you can’t solve by hand. Your calculator should only be an aid and not a crutch.

Write Out Your Math Solution Process

Write out your solutions step-by-step to avoid mistakes.

Always write out every problem-solving step when tackling Math section questions. The reason why is because many points are lost by making simple mistakes like incorrect factoring or screwing up decimal places.

The biggest benefit is you can check and review your work. Go ahead and write everything out, because you’re protecting the points you’ll easily gain.

Complete Reading Section Passages In Order Of Strength

Work on your strongest passages immediately.

When starting the Reading test, rank these passages in your order of strength:

  • Fiction
  • Social Studies
  • History
  • Natural Science

Once ranked, tackle your strongest ones first. Why? Because your understanding of that content lets you answer the associated questions faster.

Save your worst section for last, because you’ve given yourself extra time to hit it. If you don’t know which passages are your best or worst, then take a few practice tests to figure it out.

Review Lines Immediately Above & Below Lines Cited In Questions

For line-specific questions, read more than the question’s cited lines.

Go ahead and read both the two lines above and below the given citation. Those extra lines provide the full context for the question’s associated lines.

You need to know the context of why a word is used, or point is made, in order to understand its significance. Line citations alone don’t provide the full context.”

Understand How To Transition Words

Transition words provide insight into sentence order and paragraph organization for Writing questions.

Some Writing section questions require you to rearrange sentence or paragraph order. Conjunctions are a quick way to figure out how to answer those rearrangement questions.

Those transition words lay out the relationships between words and sentences because they indicate where information should come in.

Look For Informal Language

Informal language is off-limits when it comes to the SAT Writing test.

The Writing section tests how well you can identify and maintain a formal tone throughout a paragraph or overall passage. Every passage should have a formal, academic tone.

If you see any slang or colloquial words, then you know to replace them with formal terms. Even when a passage is written from a personal perspective, the writing still has to be academically rigorous. Informal language tips off what to fix immediately.


Starting with these tips is a great way to start answering the question ‘how to prepare for the SAT?’

For more test strategy, college admissions, and scholarship application tips sign up for our FREE classes happening right now!

10 SECRETS To Raise Your SAT Score 200+ Points

Join Prep Expert Founder and Perfect SAT Scorer Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA for this exclusive event!