The Struggle: SAT Prep

Sydney Brown, Staff writer

It is the monstrous test, the giant concern, and the largest inconvenience that all high school students dread their junior year; it is the SAT. I think it would be an understatement to say that juniors are stressed over this test, so here is a more optimistic cliche: everything will be fine. This is not actually a lie, although it might sound like one. The SAT does not define your individual intelligence, and it definitely does not define you. All there is to do is to prepare the best that you can with the time you are left with and then do YOUR best on the test itself.

Now the most important tip there is might just be to stay stress free, but sometimes that is easier said than done. Stress can cause a negative emotional response on us and it makes a simple task seem like a nearly impossible one. Although the SAT is a hard test, it can be made very simple. You can’t study every topic that is going to appear in its material, so it would be a good idea to be proud of what you can do and focus on your weaknesses. By giving yourself smaller goals you can eliminate some of your stressful tendencies.

SLEEP: it cannot be expressed enough how essential it is to get a good night’s sleep the day before, and even the week before, the big test. Sleep isn’t just something you need to keep your under-eye bags from making an appearance; sleep is a vital factor in the maintaining of your attention span. Without rest your body tends to lose focus more easily, and can cause you to feel strained from searching for the needed information. Pertaining to the test, a lack of sleep can make the test taker forget important details in a passage quicker, lose sight of vocab words, struggle with multitasking, and  even cause stress as was mentioned earlier. Eight to nine hours is the best amount of time to sleep the night before the test, and seven hours the week of. Believe it or not, getting an adequate night’s sleep is more important than studying the night before the SAT (Adams).

The SAT is setup to have two reading portions and two math portions. The reading portions include a writing and language section and a reading comprehension section, and the math has a calculator and non-calculator section.

Here are some tips and tricks for the reading portion of the SAT:

  • Make sure to understand the proper use of commas, semicolons, colons, dashes, and transition words.
  • Read the sentence after the underlined parts to ensure that you get context from around the information you are trying to correct.
  • Skim the passages and try not to focus on small details. Instead, focus more on the main idea of the text and decide what the author is trying to convey to the reader. Sometimes underlining important main ideas, scenes, and character descriptions can help you to stay focused on what you are reading, as well as give you possible answers to multiple choice questions(Ben).
  • When answering multiple choice questions try to choice answers that pertain to the main idea of the passage and that get straight to the point without obsessive, unneeded phrasing(Ben).

Also, here are some tips on the math sections of the test:

  • Underline, underline, underline, this makes it so much simpler to find the information you need and skip over the extra “stuff.”
  • Try plugging in the answer choices you are given to find what the question is asking for if you aren’t sure how to approach the problem (Ben).
  • When plugging in numbers to test out your answer avoid 0,1, and 2.

I myself use these strategies when I am testing. I feel that by some preparation and a little bit of motivation anyone can do well on the SAT. We have been preparing our entire school career by doing assignments and listening in class so when it comes time for the SAT really all the information is up in “thee old noggin.’”  No matter what score you get just make sure that score was the outcome of your best work and that is all anyone can ask of you. Anyways, if you aren’t happy with your scores you can always take the test again after some more practice.

Getting help from your peers could also have a large impact on your outlook on the SAT. When asked how to eliminate stress caused by the upcoming exam, Mrs. Burzynski, one of Carterville’s math teachers, advised any student to be aware of all of the given formulas on the test itself, and to work out extra practice tests outside of the classroom to give yourself more confidence and identify the types of problems likely to come up on the day of the SAT.

Junior Mitali Bahinipati, says, “ I recommend people should listen to music and hang out with their pets” to alleviate some of the pressure of studying. Mitali also advises her peers to prepare by looking back on past practice SAT’s and finding weaknesses within those to study form the real deal.

Even one of our upperclassmen, Neha Arun who has taken the SAT,  believes that it was a taxing process. As someone who has prior experience with the test, Neha states that instead of learning new content you should focus on your strengths. She believed that the hardest aspect of the test when she took is was getting the time and pace down. The best advice she said she could give to any junior starting to worry would be to take practice tests on reliable sites such as, Khan Academy and College Board. On a side note, the essay, she said, is nothing to worry about getting a perfect score on considering that everyone is very capable of writing them; ” You will score well because the ones you write in class are harder than those required on the test.”

The SAT is definitely an intimidating task, but it is not the end of the world, or at least hasn’t proven to be in the past :). Every one of us has the potential to do great it is just a matter of putting in the work. So, whatever you choose to do make sure that you get lots of rest, avoid stress at all costs, make sure you lessen the load of tasks on your plate, study the things you struggle with, and use whatever strategies work best for you and your thought process.


If you are interested in a little extra practice before the big day make sure to stop by on the following dates:

April 2nd:   Mrs. Burzynski’s Room from 7- 8:30 for math practice

April 3rd :   Mrs. Dawson’s Room from 6:30- 7:30 for writing and language practice

                        Ms. Hempton’s Room from 7:30-8:30 for reading comprehension practice




Sources used:

Adams, Thomas. “4 Ways Sleep Can Make or Break Your SAT or ACT Scores.” Veritas Prep. Verita’s

             Prep, 2001-2019.

             -sat-or-act-score/. Accessed 31 April 2019.

Ben. “High SAT Scores: Need-to-Know Tips and Strategies.” Peterson’s. Peterson’s LLC, 2019.


            31 April 2019.