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New SAT Prep Tip: Follow the 1,000 Question Rule

Here’s a terrific New SAT Prep Tip: Complete at least 1,000 College Board SAT questions before taking an official SAT exam. In order to really excel at the SAT, you should aim to practice with 1,000 SAT questions. Not only should you actually complete 1,000 questions, but you should also review them. Just as critical as the practice itself is understanding why you got certain incorrect and what you can do next time to make sure you don’t get similar problems incorrect. The College Board only has a limited number of concepts and question types it can ask you on the SAT. If you practice and review 1,000 questions, you will be sufficiently prepared for test day.

The 1,000 question rule comes from Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour-rule from his famous book Oultiers. Malcolm Gladwell posits that it takes 10,000 hours of practice in order to become a master at anything – sports, music, academics, etc. However, I don’t think 10,000 hours is necessary for you to become a master at the SAT. Unless you plan on running your own SAT prep company, then you don’t need 10,000 hours of practice with the SAT (which is probably the number of hours I have spent on the SAT).

Where did I get the 1,000 number from? In our in-person courses, students are expected to take approximately 10 SAT exams worth of questions – which is equivalent to approximately 1,500 questions. This has resulted in tremendous results for students. While some students miss some of the exams and homework, most students end up completing at least 1,000 questions. 1,000 SAT questions is the minimum number of questions you should complete if you are looking to raise your score substantially.

One of our instructors, Ryan Fitzgibbons, has an amazing analogy that really puts into perspective your high school GPA and SAT score. He says that you spend approximately 4,000 hours in high school working towards your GPA. And you spend about 4 hours one Saturday morning resulting in an SAT score. But when it comes to college admissions, your GPA and SAT score are weighted about the same. You must put in the time and effort to balance this out. Following the 1,000-quesiton rule will help you do this. While I certainly don’t expect you to spend 4,000 hours on SAT prep, a hundred (or a couple hundred hours) is certainly not unreasonable if you are looking to achieve an elite SAT score.

It’s not enough to simply practice on 1,000 questions. You need to practice perfectly. This means constantly improving the way you approach questions. You must use 2400 Expert strategies, review previous questions, work on your timing, and improve your overall test-taking habits.



Shaan Patel

Shaan Patel is the founder of Prep Expert Test Preparation (formerly 2400 Expert), a #1 bestselling SAT prep author, an MD/MBA student at Yale and USC, and winner of an investment deal with billionaire Mark Cuban on ABC's Shark Tank. He raised his own SAT score from average to perfect and teaches students his methods in an online SAT prep class.