How To Prepare For The SAT As A Student Athlete

If you’re an athlete, let’s face it, you have very little time to study for the SAT. You spend ten to fifteen hours a week at practices and events, so other extracurricular activities are moved to the back burner.  However, it’s wise not to throw out studying for the SAT. The benefits of a high score are too important to overlook.

Despite the time crunch, a student-athlete like you can be fully prepared for the SAT by following a few guidelines. First, you will have to be smart about how you manage the timeline for when you study and take the test.  Second, you’ll have to study smart because you don’t have time for inefficient methods. Lastly, you’ll need to know strategies for gaming the SAT.

Prep Expert courses are perfectly designed to meet the needs of student-athletes.


Create A Schedule For Everything SAT Related

Block out at least two months to study for the SAT, and then give yourself time to take it at least twice.

The last thing you’ll want to do is prepare for the SAT while your sport is in season. With good planning, though, you can avoid this scenario.

To plan well, you need to start with a realistic expectation of the time commitment involved. If you are thinking three or four days, strike that from your mind right away.  The topics on the SAT are simply too broad to cover in such a short amount of time.  Most students require at least two months of studying for ten to fifteen hours a week. This will allow you to cover all the topics and practice with enough questions to reach your highest potential score.

When should you block out this two-month period? It’s complicated and depends on your situation. If you can, prepare for the SAT during the summer before your junior year. You’ll be able to take the SAT at its new earlier starting time at the end of August, which means everything will be fresh in your mind.  Also, you’ll have up to a year to retake the test if you don’t get the score you want since most colleges will accept your scores until the end of fall your senior year.

Guidelines For Other Timetables

Make sure you have ten to fifteen hours a week for at least two months to dedicate to SAT if you can’t study the summer before your junior year.

As an athlete, your situation might not allow you to block out the summer before your junior year to study for the SAT.  Don’t worry, you can still get the most out of your studying if you follow some good guidelines.

First, go to the College Board’s website and see when the test is offered throughout the year. Only a year of test dates is given, but the test dates for future years will be pretty much the same. Do you see a time when you can dedicate at least ten hours a week for two months that doesn’t conflict with your sport’s season? Try to pick the earliest date you can, so you can retake the SAT if your score is too low.

Second, make sure you have finished Algebra 2 before you start studying. You might be relieved to learn that the SAT doesn’t have any calculus. The most advanced math is some very elementary trigonometry, of the SOHCAHTOA variety, which can be learned outside of a trig class.

Know The SAT Score You Need To Play College Sports

Take an SAT practice test now to see if your score is close to the score you need to play at the colleges you’re interested in. Give yourself more study time if necessary.

If you want to play a college sport, you should take an SAT practice test now so you know your baseline score. Non-athletes often make their GPA and SAT score a primary factor when choosing which universities to apply to.  But for athletes, this isn’t always the case. They might choose universities based on the sports programs there, which can cause a mismatch between an athlete’s SAT score and a university’s required SAT score.

You can find the range of scores most universities admit with a little help from a search engine. For instance, search results show that Harvard admits students who have scores between 1470 and 1600. If you want to get into Harvard and your score now is more than 150 points below that range, you will need more than the standard two months of studying. You may need five or six months. Taking a practice SAT now will let you know how much time to block out in your future schedule.

Practice Every Day As If SAT Prep Is A Sport

When preparing for the SAT, consistent daily studying is more effective than scattered bursts of studying.

As an athlete you have a distinct advantage over other students when it comes to SAT prep: you know the value of the daily practice. Because SAT preparation involves things like changing habits, developing mental endurance and focus, and recognizing patterns, you will need to practice every day.

It’s not enough to merely study for ten to fifteen hours a week.  Daily studying of two hours will boost your score astronomically more than studying three times a week for five hours.  Why? For starters, you need to break the bad habits you have been developing for the last ten years on how to take multiple-choice tests. Researchers have found that it takes 21 days of practice to break a bad habit. Similarly, you need daily practice to increase your attention span and to recognize the complicated patterns of SAT question types.


Keep Score Of Your Progress Through Weekly Tests

Take a practice test once a week and keep track of your scores.

The SAT is a four and half hour marathon. It requires you to work rapidly under strict time restrictions. So, you’ll need to develop endurance and learn strategies to answer questions quickly.  To do so, take weekly full-length practice tests in a manner that mimics test-day conditions.

Before you start each section of the SAT, set a timer and stop precisely when it goes off.  These authentic testing conditions will give you an idea of where your pacing is off, so you can adjust in future weeks. Realistically, you can only gain so much time by merely trying to speed up.  To optimize your pacing, you will have to learn more time-efficient SAT strategies, such as what Prep Expert teaches in its SAT course.

Practicing like this is the only way to develop the endurance you need for this four-and-a-half-hour test.  Also, you can record your scores each week to track your progress.  Go back to the problems you missed and see if you can figure why you missed them.  If you take this approach for two months, your score is almost guaranteed to increase.

Use Only College Board Questions

The tests from other companies aren’t close enough to the SAT to make them worth using.  Just focus on College Board questions.

The College Board, the non-profit that makes the SAT, spends millions of dollars every year to develop this test. It employs expert test makers and data scientists. It holds the copyright to every SAT test so no other company can merely make tweaks on a test and release that as it’s own.  The College Board has students take an experimental section so it can test questions on millions of real high school students, then weed out the bad questions and keep the good ones.

No other company can do all this. Tests created by other companies are simply so different from the real SAT that you should not use them.  As an athlete, you don’t have time to waste taking practice tests that won’t improve your score.

Take An SAT Prep Course To Learn How To Game The SAT

An SAT prep course will teach the strategies to outsmart the test creators and reach your highest potential score.

SAT prep isn’t a team sport, so coaches aren’t technically needed.  But, you’ve probably had a coach who helped you improve your skills more than you could have ever done on your own. Maybe your coach taught you the correct form for blocking a linebacker or hitting a tennis ball.  Sure, you could have watched online videos and read articles on all these things.  But that would never be as effective as having an experienced and knowledgeable coach.

SAT prep is similar. There is a lot of really bad advice on SAT strategies out there on the internet. But, Prep Expert can coach you on the best strategies you need to ace the test. Also, all of the instructors have scored in the 99th percentile, which means they really know what they are doing. As an athlete, you may not have the time to experiment with bad strategies, so taking an SAT course might be your best option. Also, Prep Expert is the leader in online SAT courses, so you wouldn’t have to waste time driving.


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