How to Practice for the SAT Subject Test

While flash cards may help in practicing some areas of the SATs, they are not the right approach for students who want to score well in all categories.  Most teachers and tutors will know how to prepare their students, but if you’re interested in getting some extra practice time on your own, there are plenty of effective methods.

Practicing for the Reading Portion of the SATs

When it comes to the reading portion of the SATs, it will attempt to determinewhether or not you understand implied meaning.  To practice this, it’s a good idea to read literary works that use symbolism.  You can read a selected piece, and then head to Sparknotes.com where they have practice SAT test prepquestions and literary analyses.

The SATs will test your vocabulary level too, but they won’t simply ask you the meanings of words.  Instead, you will need to use context clues and relationships to determine a word’s meaning.  This tends to come naturally to students who already do a lot of reading.  For most, it’s helpful to learn the meaning of basic roots, prefixes, and suffixes rather than whole words, because then you can break down pretty much any word to interpret its definition.

Practicing for the Math Portion of the SATs

The questions in the math portion of the SATs will generally cover geometry, algebra, pre-calculus, and some trigonometry.  It’s extremely important to be able to recognize common equations, like functions for instance, and how to go about solving them (while showing your work).  It is recommended that you do sets of 10 to 20 practice problems per day, instead of one long study session.  Applying your knowledge over the course of many days will be more likely to stick in your long-term memory.

Practicing for the Writing Portion of the SATs

In the writing portion of the SATs, you will identify sentence errors and review and correct paragraphs for grammar, structure, and organization.  Here too, avid readers tend to do well with the writing category, so the more reading you can get in between now and the SATs, the better you will do in these sections.  You can also practice by proofreading your peers’ assignments,taking some of the many practice tests offered online by the SAT College Board,or by finding an online tutor who can help you address specific weakness and who can provide test-taking strategies.

You also need to make sure you understand how to write a basic, 5-paragraph essay, including an introduction with a topic sentence, body paragraphs with transitions, and a conclusion.  There’s no substitute for this, so you’ll simply need to practice writing essays and ask teachers or tutors to look over your work.

If you find yourself struggling with any of the concepts that will be on the SATs, don’t hesitate to ask for help.  Many of the assignments you complete in English and math classes are meant to teach these skills.  If those lessons aren’t helping you understand, you may simply need a little extra time with your teacher or a tutor. If you don’t have a tutor, finding one as early as possible can return significant improvements and insure that you are sufficiently prepared for your SAT appointment.

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