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Education

The SAT administered in January was the last of its kind. This month, The College Board will be presenting an entirely new SAT to students formatted in a similar manner to the ACT. Instead of multiple reading and math sections, there’s now only one reading section, one math section with a calculator, and one without. Students will be given more time to answer fewer questions, which now have four multiple choice options instead of five. While no longer required, should students choose to write the essay, they will find themselves reading and responding to a short passage instead of an open-ended prompt.

Create a Study System

Even though several changes are being made to the SAT, the ways to most efficiently prepare for taking it have not. Nina Parrish of Parrish Learning Zone suggest studying for at least 15 minutes each day leading up to the test date as one of the best ways to tackle learning the material.

“We find that most students have better success if they stick with one subject at a time,” Parrish says. “Keep in mind that practice is the determining factor for who improves their SAT scores and who doesn’t. The most important thing is to have a growth mindset.”

Take Time to Practice

What is growth mindset? Perhaps the most important part of having a growth mindset is withstanding discouragement. It’s perfectly normal to take the SAT for the first time and not score as highly as you had hoped. Study more, and take it again. Most students see an improvement in their scores the second time. Theta Roach, director of education at Sylvan Learning Center, recommends setting aside time to take full practice tests before taking your first SAT.

“You don’t know what it’s going to be like until you sit there and actually go through it in a test-like environment,” she says.

The feel of the SAT is different than that of regular school testing primarily because of its length and variety of material.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late to Start Studying

Another way to prepare is to give yourself time to study. Start at least a month-and-a-half out from the test date. Roach warned that many students come to Sylvan asking for her help a week beforehand. “By then it’s already too late,” she says. So hit the books early and stay focused! Studying consistently even if it’s just a little bit at a time will help you to be successful.

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