The one-two SAT punch

Know your opponent (the test) and your target score before going into the SAT

The one-two SAT punch

More than 2 million high school students take this college entrance exam every year. And thanks to Score Choice, a new score-reporting feature that gives students the option to choose the SAT scores by test date, many students take the test more than once. (Related SAT word: masochistic.)

Here’s how to avoid having to retake the SAT.

PUNCH 1: Know your target score

Treat the SAT as an adversary. And what does anyone worth their salt does to an adversary?

The first smart thing you can do to seize up your opponent is to find out how much impact your score can have on your chances of making it whatever college you have your eye on.

Once you have your list of probable colleges, do a little bit of investigating.

Look for the average SAT scores of the students admitted in the previous years. That information should give you an idea of what score you need to aim for.

PUNCH 2: Scout your opponent early

As any football coach or boxing trainer can tell you, the more information you have on your opponent, the easier it is to come out on top.

To be sure, the SAT is an opponent with an Achilles heel or two. One of them is the fact that the test is standardized. That means that the test measures your mastery of a specific set of predetermined skills. It does not measure your creativity, imagination or intellectual curiosity. Boring? You bet.

But because the set of skills you are being tested on is pretty much a constant, the more you work on improving those skills, the higher your chances of acing the test.

There are many approaches to preparing for the SAT. The good news is that, ultimately, you have the power to make the SAT a lightweight hurdle on the trail to better, more significant things in life.

Shawn Alexander works for PrepSage.com, which operates a database of hundreds of SAT questions.



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