High SAT Scores: 5 Tips from Harvard Pros on Getting Ready for the SAT


  1. START EARLY:  Allow yourself enough time to get a handle on the test. The college admissions process is stressful, and SAT preparation can certainly be overwhelming, but giving yourself enough time to get familiar with the SAT will make the big test date a little less scary. 
  2. MAKE A PLAN: There’s a lot available to students for SAT test preparation: SAT tutoring, SAT classes, online SAT preparation, and SAT books.  Pick the study method that fits with the kind of help you need and establish a plan for tackling the test. Make a schedule; a little SAT prep a day, in some form or another, will go a long way. 
  3. LEARN VOCAB: Learning vocabulary is an important way to improve your SAT scores. About 1/3 of the SAT Reading section is made up of questions that are explicitly vocabulary-dependent, so knowing SAT vocabulary can increase your score by 150 points in total. Even on questions that don’t specifically test vocabulary, it’s easy for students to get confused by difficult words, so vocabulary can help in all aspects of reading comprehension.   
  4. TAKE FULL PRACTICE TESTS: Again, familiarizing yourself with the SAT is key! Take full-length SAT practice tests, and get to know the format and the kinds of questions that frequently appear. As miserable as it may sound, taking timed, full-length SATs under test-like conditions can be extremely beneficial when getting ready for the SAT. Just practicing sitting and taking a 3 hour and 20 minute test will make it that much easier to do on the day that it counts.  
  5. READ The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, AND OTHER LITERATURE: Prepare for the SAT Reading sections, and learn what’s going on in the world at the same time. You’ll be reading about subjects you’re not necessarily familiar with on standardized tests, so get a head start. Read, get a grasp of the content, and look up the meanings of any words you come across that you don’t know.  

If you found these tips useful, and would like some more help getting ready for the SAT, check out Vocab Videos and get started!


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