Preparing for the SAT’s


College Board [Public domain]

Collegeboard's SAT Logo back in 2013

Stacy Vazquez, Journalist

The SAT’s are right around the corner; class of 2020 will be taking the exam on March 6.

The SAT is no joke. It is an important test that is a crucial factor in college admissions. Students at University Preparatory begin preparation as early as eighth grade when they take their first PSAT. Students will take the PSAT freshman and sophomore year too. But, of course, nowadays we can find all kinds of help everywhere, at your local library, school, or even online.

Although it can be beneficial, having so much help offered to you can definitely be overwhelming. Students often struggle not knowing where to begin their preparation, which website offers the most help, or which books to study from. With a clock ticking, students don’t have the time to check out, or look through every single website or book. Students often ask, “Where and how can I get the best kind of preparation?”

One of the most popular and trusted websites, Khan Academy, offers test preparation. According to Khan Academy, not all students will have similar study agendas or schedules, so why should SAT preparation be one-size-fits all? Khan academy offers an SAT Practice Schedule in which you will get to create and have a personalized schedule based on your strengths, weaknesses, and time availability.  They also recommend you take at least two practice exams, and diagnose your skills early on.

While online preparation may be quite helpful for some, others prefer to study with a tutor. There are many SAT preparation tutors in California. The benefits of studying with a tutor include having a real-life person monitor your studying and be able to help you in person. Sometimes, a screen may not be enough and you might need another helping hand. Tutors focus on helping you and some will adapt their teaching style to fit your needs.

Lastly, trying SAT prep books may also help. There are definitely students that would rather study on their own, but who need more than just a website. SAT prep books are offered at many bookstores and sometimes even your local library. All books are different, and prepare you in different ways, so while one book may work miracles for you, others won’t. There is no best SAT book for that reason, your best shot is checking out your options and seeing which fits your needs the most.

Some students choose to study their PSAT scores and not pressure themselves too much. This important exam can be stressful and trying to get all the help possible at once can harm you more than help you.

Junior Caitlyn Torno states, “I do plan to take the SAT. I am not nervous because I know from experience that anxiety makes me do worse on tests. I have not been preparing because I forget and lack motivation. However, I do believe studying the PSAT and learning where one went wrong on it would be a good strategy and I plan to review eventually. I’d advise others not stress about it, but go over their previous tests to learn from their mistakes.”

In the end, it just comes down to who you are, and the way you prefer to study. As easy as it would be to have someone declare which is the Best SAT Preparation, it is basically impossible to choose since everybody is different. It is helpful to ask past students about their experiences with the exam, but you can’t always just go off what others say. The best advice would be to begin your research ahead of time, so you can look around for the help that fits you best.