SAT Study Tips

When I work with a student individually or in a group I always assign practice test sections for the student to work on.  The best way to practice is to time yourself, do the complete section and then immediately check the answers to see which questions you missed.  This is a habit that should have been developed in math classes but very few students have developed.  It’s best to catch your mistakes immediately.  In math texts there are usually answers to the odd problems in the back of the book but very few students take advantage of this.  I guess students realize it will take more work if they have to redo problems, but this is the best way to learn.  For students who are willing to study from review books, there are some with a lot of explanations, like the Princeton Review books, but not many students will take the time to do this.  For most, the College Board Review Book is best, since they have the most accurate practice questions.  This book offers very little in the way of explanations, although a separate solutions manual is available. It also does not have vocabulary words in the book.  There are many SAT vocabulary training tools available.  If you look on the internet or go to Barnes and Noble, you can find a variety of books and cards and try to judge which might work best for you (or your child).

It is a good idea to begin studying for the SAT early on in high school, and steadily do a little prep each week.  Vocabulary training in particular is a long term project that students can begin in their freshman year.  Perhaps 10 or 20 words per week would be a good program to implement.  The words they learn will also help them in high school, college and life.  Some English classes do vocabulary training, which is very helpful, but others do not.  I have had students from Vista del Lago HS in Folsom tell me that they study latin roots each year in English class, and that is a terrific help.  I wish more schools would do that.  Those students really stood out in their ability to discern the meanings of words they’d never seen.

A lot of students like to use the problem of the day sent to their phones from the college board website (  Anything from the college board is very good and helpful.  The best studying tool is the one that the student will use.