How to start prepping to take the SAT

Victor Pérez
June 14, 2020
Victor Pérez
June 14, 2020

Before you start prepping to take the SAT, you need to understand how this test is scored. When you take the SAT, you’ll be given a total score between 400 and 1600. The SAT has two major sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (combined from Reading + Writing and Language), and Math. You can earn a scaled score of between 200 and 800 points on each section, but where does the scoring scale come from?

You start with a raw score for each topic area. Your raw score is simply the number of questions you answered correctly; skipped or wrong questions do not add or subtract from your raw score. That number is then converted into a scale scored through a process called equating.

The average SAT score is 1068, with some variation from year to year, but what counts as a good score for you will really depend on where you’re looking to apply. To get into a top-tier school you’ll likely need to score about 1500 or higher, but for the local branch of the state university, you might be just fine with 1050.

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The best way to prepare for the SAT

Now that you’ve calculated what your SAT score goal is, you need to decide how to get there. Will you do better by hiring a tutor or studying on your own? You may also want to consider an online program.

If you do decide to take on the SAT prep process on your own, make sure you get the best book for your needs. Taking official practice SATs is also key to understanding the exam and learning where you need to improve during your studies.

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What I need to know to prepare for the SAT

There are three key aspects of prepping for the SAT: learning the logic of the test, studying the content, and practicing the questions.

For specific information on the material covered and the styles of questions you’ll see on the SAT, try to find and read complete information about each component or section: Reading, Math, Writing, and Essay.

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