SAT Preparation: 6 Myths About the SAT

Whether we like it or not, the SAT plays an extremely significant role in getting students accepted into college. Because of its magnitude, people are going to talk about the SAT, but not everything people say is going to be true. Below are a few myths commonly associated with the big test:

  1. Different SAT test dates vary in difficulty: This one gets thrown out there all the time. Many students are convinced that one testing date may offer a more difficult SAT than the next testing date. Some students, for instance, believe that all the geniuses come out to take the SAT in January and March, and steer clear because of a potentially skewed curve. There is no truth to this notion; there is no link between SAT testing date and test difficulty.
  2. The SAT is a good indication of how I will do in college: False, or shall we say, not necessarily. The SAT is not an indicator of how well you will do in college. There can be excellent students who are just not the best standardized test-takers. What the SATs reflect is how good you are at taking the test, and how long you’ve spent preparing. But there continues to be a great amount of weight placed on the SAT in the world of college admissions, so get preparing!
  3. You can’t really improve your critical reading score: You can improve your SAT critical reading score–significantly. The surest way to do so is by expanding your vocabulary. In fact, improving your SAT vocabulary can increase your SAT critical reading score up to 150 points, as a large part of the reading section is vocabulary-dependent. Sentence completions and reading comprehension depend upon your understanding of words in questions, answers, and passages.
  4. The math on the SAT is very complex: By the time you’re taking the SAT, you will have already learned most of what’s being tested on the math portion of the test. The math section of the SAT is largely based on 9th grade math–ratios and percents, some geometry, and algebra concepts like factoring, functions, and quadratic equations. So, start reviewing to get these concepts fresh in your mind again. There’s also a few tricks to beat the clock. Because you’re given answer choices, on appropriate questions instead of setting up an algebraic equation and solving for variables, you can plug-in answer choices to test them against what the question‘s asking.
  5. Colleges don’t look at the writing section: So it’s the newest addition to the SAT test, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter!  This myth started when students began hearing that colleges weren’t counting the writing section as much as math and reading. We say be on the safe side and get yourself as strong in the writing section as possible. Still not convinced? At least check in about this with each one of the schools you’re applying to.
  6. Taking the test more than once looks bad on your college application: Wrong again. Most students re-test, and there‘s nothing wrong with it. If you’re not happy with your scores, taking the SAT again is a great option. You should know, however, that the scores won’t magically increase. In fact, because the SAT aims to test intelligence, and students don’t typically become more “intelligent” from one test to another, re-testing typically allows for a very mediocre score improvement . So from one test to the next, we’d recommend an increase in SAT preparation. Studying vocabulary is a good idea because it’s one thing you can definitely improve. With words, you either know them or you don’t, and on the SAT knowing them pays off.

Preparing for the SAT? Don't believe everything you hear.

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