SAT Test Prep

With college application deadlines fast approaching, hopeful high school seniors around the country are harassing teachers and coaches for letters of recommendation, writing, editing and rewriting their personal statements, and preparing for the one of the most dreaded rites of adolescent passage: the SAT.

Different colleges and universities place different weights on the SAT Reasoning Test (formerly known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test), some require other standardized tests like the ACT, and some don't even require it at all. It's important for any college applicant to carefully review the application requirements of all the institutions to which he or she is applying. Depending on a student's intended major, they may also have to take specific SAT II subject tests (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Literature, Art, etc.).

If you're applying to several different colleges, it's especially important to pay careful attention to each campus's unique admissions requirements. After all the time and preparation that it takes to submit a college application, the last thing an applicant wants is to find out his or her application is ineligible because of some minor oversight.

While SAT prep may be a common practice for the nation's seventeen-year-olds, a lot of students don't know how to effectively use their time and appropriately prepare for the test. Despite what people with a perfect score might have you believe, the SAT doesn't measure how smart you are, it measures how well you can take the SAT. Understanding how the test works allows you to prepare strategically and maximize your study time.

The SAT Reasoning Test is divided into three different sections: math, critical reading, and writing. Each section is structured differently, and is designed to measure different skills. The math section, also known as the quantitative section, not surprisingly measures quantitative reasoning ability and mathematical computations skills. The writing section is composed of both multiple choice questions and a brief essay. And finally, the critical reading section measures knowledge of sentence structure and reading comprehension.

Studying vocabulary in preparation for the SAT is different from studying regular vocabulary. Generally, the motivation for studying vocabulary is to find the best words to use to express one's thoughts and feelings. But studying SAT vocabulary is its own animal. Test takers need to choose the appropriate vocabulary words to fill in the sentences that the Educational Testing Service (ETS) decides appropriately measures your understanding of the both the word and its place in the context of the sentence.

There are lots of different study guides for preparing for the SAT. While some students will participate in a preparatory course, those courses are often very expensive and time consuming, and they're not the right option for everyone. Study books and DVDs are a more reasonably priced option that allow students to structure their own study schedule, and finally there are also a plethora of free online resources for preparing for the SAT and other standardized tests. These online sources often include free practice tests to allow students to gauge their test-taking abilities and decide which aspects of the tests they need to focus on most.