Planning SAT preparation can be a test all by itself. Listening to advice from fellow test-takers, teachers and the vast world of online resources might overwhelm you as you devise a study plan that best suits you.
Start by narrowing your search with these five SAT prep resources that you'll be thankful for throughout your journey.
1. Free practice exams: At the start of your SAT prep, it is important to assess your strengths and challenges on the exam. Taking a practice test is one of the best ways to decide how to tailor your study plan to your specific skills. Begin by trying the College Board's Official SAT Practice Test.
Continue assessing your exam-taking skills throughout your prep schedule with free test questions and exams available online. Once you take a practice exam, try the College Board's skills assessment tool for tips on developing specific skills.
Scoring your timed practice sections is the only way to understand yourself as an SAT test-taker and to determine your most personalized approach to the exam.
[Learn how to build an SAT prep timeline.]
2. Writing resources: The SAT essay section moves quickly and serves up a challenge in the same way that any timed writing exam does. As with all aspects of SAT prep, the best way to become comfortable with the essay is to practice at least four to five timed essays before test day, and score them.
Scoring the essays is a good way to include people who want to support you in your preparation. Ask them to read and score your essays, as well as note grammatical concerns or awkward parts of your piece.
Look for any patterns in their feedback, such as passive voice, subject-verb agreement problems or punctuation issues. Your family members might not use those terms, but you should evaluate the constructive criticism and try to name the problems so you can fix them for the actual exam.
Many online writing centers offer handouts and even videos that explain common writing problems. Once you identify, name and learn to revise your errors, you can walk into the exam prepared to proofread for those specific concerns before time is up.
[Follow these tips to score well on the SAT essay.]
3. Online vocabulary builders: The SAT verbal section is notorious for its challenging vocabulary. Many classic SAT words come from scholarly sources, which assume audiences with high levels of education and a specialized vocabulary.
It is natural for these words to be unfamiliar to high school students. There are many free vocabulary-building sites. Flashcard Flash is a search engine that finds flashcards from several websites. Flashcards come in mobile app form, too, and many are free.
4. Online math explanations: Very few students express gratitude for math questions, but during SAT prep, students frequently become appreciative of anything that helps make sense of their SAT challenges.
One website, FreeSATMath, offers a very straightforward SAT math problem-explanation set-up. Students can access math problems and answer choices, and can get help or see reference material.
The simplicity of the site is what makes it attractive. There is nothing to navigate. You can focus on the issue at hand – math practice.
[Find out how to improve ACT and SAT time management.]
5. Online games: Test prep can be fun! For instance, some people find the math section challenging simply because they don't like working with numbers.
Online sudoku puzzles can help build confidence in number relationships and keep the mind nimble while breaking from the exam format. Students with more time to prepare can consider a free basic membership to Lumosity, a brain game program that claims to sharpen critical thinking, among many other skills, through an individualized program.
Online games are a strong resource for students who have thought ahead and want to increase the speed and agility of their critical thinking.
No matter how many skills a student needs to develop before exam day, these five resources are flexible enough to meet a variety of test prep challenges.