The obvious approach to use when preparing for any test, including the SAT, is to study in advance. College Board breaks out the best process for SAT prep into five categories: (i) pay attention in class throughout high school, (ii) start test preparation early, (iii) use the free SAT practice on Khan Academy, (iv) take at least one full-length practice test, and (v) know what to expect on test day.
The SAT is available seven times each year, in March, May, June, August, October, November and December. Students may take the SAT starting their freshman year. However, most take it for the first time in spring of their junior year. This is a good choice because students will have completed two years of high school studies. It also leaves fall test dates available for the student to retake the SAT if he needs to improve his score.
Pay Attention Throughout High School
SAT questions are tied to high school curriculum. It’s important to pay attention, be dedicated to learning the coursework, and ask for help whenever needed. High school students who have mastered their coursework will be well prepared for the SAT by spring of their junior year.
Start Early to Prepare for the SAT
High school students have a busy schedule. Junior and senior year students have homework, tests, extracurricular classes, sports, social activities, parties, special events, and family commitments. Select a test date that allows for 2 – 3 months of advanced test prep. Block study time in the calendar and don’t allow other activities to shift that commitment to studying. Students who start their prep early have time to identify and address topic areas of concern. They avoid having to cram at the last minute and have confidence on test day.