SAT Preparation Strategy & Study Plan 2023 - Check Tips & Tricks to Crack SAT

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Samarpita Goswami
Updated on Mar 20, 2023 7:07 PM IST

SAT is an important test for admissions in some of the leading universities that accept SAT scores like the University of Central Florida, Florida International University, Florida State University, and the University of South Florida among others. Millions of students across the globe take the SATs every year as the first step toward their admission to undergraduate degree programmes in different parts of the world, especially in the United States.

On this page, we will discuss some proven tips and tricks to prepare for the SAT exam from the beginning. For those struggling to begin with their SAT preparation, the pointers discussed on this page could be instrumental in making the test preparation easier.

SAT Preparation Strategy & Study Plan 2023

SAT preparation can appear stressful if it is not planned properly or is not interesting. CollegeBoard recommends students prepare for the SAT exam with a smart strategy. 16 weeks is enough time for preparation for SAT. The time frame can be divided into different sections under the exam followed by taking the SAT practice tests

Students must understand well the SAT exam pattern and SAT syllabus before starting the SAT 2023 preparation. As we are taking you through the section-wise SAT preparation tips, here are some helpful links that are worth visiting to make yourself more acquainted with the SAT exam:

Popular US Universities Accepting Applications Without ACT/SAT Scores

Here's How You Can Improve Your SAT Score

Popular USA Universities Accepting SAT Score Above 1340

SAT vs. ACT: What is the Difference & Which One is Right For You?

Want to Know What is Good SAT Score for US?

Preparation Tips for the SAT Reading Test

If you wish to prepare for the SAT 2023 exam, then the reading test forms an important part of the syllabus. You can look at the following tips to prepare for SAT reading section:

  • The questions or passages of the reading section are taken from sources that are usually of high standards. The common subject areas include the US and world literature, history and social studies and science. The passages of essays are generally drawn from arguments that were written for a broader audience. Students should try to understand the tone of the author and their intention before answering the questions.

  • Students must be reasonable enough to make inferences and draw logical conclusions from the same. They have to read between the lines and find a deeper meaning in the passages.

  • Some questions from the text will require candidates to draw information from it and get suggested meaning from the text. To ace this section, one has to try and improve reading skills by going through more and more popular American texts.

  • While most passages will be easy, there may be some that will include tough words and complicated sentence structures. These sentences have multiple meanings and information simultaneously. The complex passage may have themes such as justice and freedom and might simply describe tangled relationships and different concepts. Make sure that your vocab base is strong and that you know the usage of difficult words and phrases. 

SAT Reading Test Preparation Process

Following this cycle while preparing for the SAT Reading section would make it easier to enhance your reading skills:

Tips for SAT Reading Test

Preparation Tips for the SAT Writing and Language Test

Following Test preparation tips will help a candidate enhance their performance in SAT Writing Test

  • Under this section, test-takers may be asked to choose words or phrases that express a specific idea in the best possible manner.

  • The test can be divided into two categories - Expression of Ideas including the revision of text for topic development; organization, logic, and cohesion; and rhetorically effective use of the English Language and Standard English Conventions including editing text following the standard convention of written English sentence structure, usage, and punctuation.

  • Under the category of Expression of Ideas, questions such as replacing a sentence with one that matches the original claim better and clearly, removing an example that’s not relevant to the passage’s central idea, choosing between similar words with different connotations, combining two sentences effectively, etc. can be expected.

  • Under the Standard English Conventions category, questions may require you to recognize and/or correct the lack of parallelism in sentence construction, the inappropriate shifts in verb tense, voice, and mood and errors in pronoun person and number, Illogical comparisons of unlike terms, confusion between restrictive/essential and non-restrictive/nonessential sentence elements, Problems with using end-of-sentence punctuation or punctuation within sentences (particularly colons, semicolons, and dashes) to signal sharp breaks in thought, etc.

Preparation Tips for the SAT Math Test

Students can refer to the following points to improve their SAT Maths section:

To score well in the mathematics section, it is necessary to emphasise on problem-solving, modelling, using strategic tools and algebraic structure.

  • Students should understand mathematical concepts clearly and their application in the real world.

  • It is important to practice as many mathematics tests as possible. It will help build a good grasp of different mathematical concepts, relations and operations.

  • As SAT Math section is calculator-based, candidates must learn how and when to use it properly. Math test II does not require the use of a calculator. 


When is the Right Time to Appear for SAT?

Appearing for SATcan be a tough and challenging aspect for many students, however, a more challenging task in appearing for the renowned test is selecting the appropriate date. Choosing the right time will help students assess their capabilities of earning the right score, which is accepted by either Ivy League or Popular Universities in the US.

While there is no correct answer to this question, it is recommended, for Indian students aspiring to study abroad, to appear for the SATs in the months of September or October while appearing for their 11th class. This will allow the students to gauge their skills and knowledge of the different SAT subjects and study and improve their understanding of the weaker subjects.

Students will then be able to appear for the SATs again in the months of April and May, at the start of their 12th class, which will leave the entire year for them to complete the application process to the university of their choice as well as complete the paperwork required to travel and study abroad.

However, many experts and previous SAT test-takers suggest taking SAT prep tests or PSAT in 10th, as itallows the students to gauge, prepare and enhance their skills and aim for the highest score on the SAT.

The Right Time to Appear for SAT

Here are some points to keep in mind while deciding the right time to appear for SAT:

  • Appear for SAT prep tests or PSATs in class 10th to gauge your skills and knowledge of the different subjects. (Optional)

  • The SAT exam dates fall inMarch, May, October, and December every year. So always keep two-three months in hand to prepare yourself accurately for the examination. Students should take advice or try to ascertain when is the right time to sit for SAT. Students should utilise their preparation time efficiently and work on theirweaknesses.

  • If you are unsatisfied with the scores obtained in the first SATs, retake them in the months of April or May, at the start of your class 12th, thus allowing you enough and more time to apply and complete the documentation process to study abroad.

When is the Right Time to Start Preparing for the SAT?

While there is no right time to appear for the SAT, there is a right time to prepare for the renowned tests. Many students start planning to study abroad way before they even enter high school. Therefore, they start preparing for the test as soon as possible.

However, there is a minimum time required to properly prepare to earn a good score, preferred by Ivy League and popular universities in the US. This can range anywhere between two to six months based on the study plan opted by the students.

SAT candidates can choose to prepare for the test through an intense plan that spans over 10 hours a day for a duration of two months or choose to prepare a few hours each day for a span of six months. Many study-abroad experts claim these techniques to be the most effective in increasing one’s SAT scores.

However, an important thing to remember is that the learning of each candidate will be unique to them. Therefore, if you are planning to prepare and appear for the SATs, ensure that the study plan you have chosen is an appropriate learning method for you.

The Right Time to Start Preparing for the SAT

Here are some pointers all SAT aspirants should keep in mind while preparing for the test:

  • Select an SAT study plan, appropriate to your learning style, thus allowing you to improve your skills and understanding of the different subjects.

  • Prioritise the weaker sections of the SATs and assign more time for the preparation of these subjects.

  • Start preparing for your SATs as per the Study Plan you have chosen for your preparation for the test.

SAT Study Plan for Ivy League Universities in the US

Studying at one of the Ivy League universities is a dream for many students, not only in US but students from all over the world. Ivy League universities are one of the most sought-after universities worldwide and these higher education institutions select only highly qualified and high-scoring students.

Since these universities are tough to be enrolled in, students usually will have to follow an intense study plan that focuses on scoring the highest score possible. If you plan to enrol in one of the US Ivy League Universities, then it is recommended to set a base score without preparing for the test, and then plan your study schedule and plan accordingly.

It should be noted that many universities in the US have started to drop the requirement for SATs and ACTs this year as a result of the pandemic closing down many of the testing centres across the world.

However, a few Ivy League universities may still accept SAT scores, therefore, it is important that you check the admission requirements specified by the university itself before applying for admissions.

SAT Study Plan for Ivy League Universities in the US

Here are some pointers to keep in mind while preparing for SAT for admission to Ivy League Universities in the US:

  • Set a base score. SAT score ranges from 400 to 1600 and 200 to 800 for each section. A good SAT score for Ivy schools would be above 1550 for any student to start preparing for the test.

  • Select an intensive SAT Study Plan to ensure that your receive the best score.

  • Attempt as many Prep SATs and Mock SATs to help gauge your progress and overall skills and understanding of the different topics and subjects of the test.

  • Attempt a PSAT in Class 10th, and mock tests before appearing for the first official SAT in 11th around September or October. If unsatisfied with the test scores, attempt the SATs around April or May to improve your score further.

FAQs on SAT Preparation Tips

How can I prepare to score well on the SAT?

Thorough understanding and reading of the question paper, attempting mock tests and practice papers, and attempting easier questions first are some of the ways you can prepare to score well on the SAT. It is necessary to have clear understanding of all the concepts to easily apply them during the exam.

How do I improve my speed for completing the SAT test in time?

If you wish to improve your speed for completing the SAT, then the best solution is to time yourself while you attempt practice papers. Practice papers help you in various ways while preparing for the SAT exam. First of all, you will get an insight into what kind of questions to expect and how to manage the time accordingly.

Can I prepare for the SAT in 10 days?

It does not matter how many days you spend preparing for the SAT. Preparing in 10 days can be enough if you spend a good amount of time on it every day and prepare smartly rather than covering every topic given in the syllabus. However, it is advisable not to take such risks for the SAT exam. It is better to keep two to three months of prep time.

What do I do if I do not have enough time to prepare for SAT?

Brushing up on certain important topics, especially mathematical reasoning, will help you improve your chances of scoring well on SAT. You can also attempt practice question papers or sample papers. Attempting the questions papers will also help you understand which topics within a section hold more importance over others.

What are some general preparation tips and tricks to attempt the SAT?

One of the most important preparation tips and tricks for the SAT is to attempt practice papers offered by the College Board and other reliable sources. This will help you assess your skills and knowledge regarding the different topics. You will be able to realise your strengths and weak points, and take the necessary steps accordingly.

Since I can use a calculator, is it necessary to practice Mathematics extensively?

While the provision of using a calculator is available, there is limited time and the ability to use the correct theorems, techniques and methodologies stem only from practice. Therefore, it is advisable to spend more time preparing for the Mathematics section.

How do I prepare for Mathematics in SAT?

An important strategy required in preparing for the Mathematics section in SAT is to attempt as many practice papers as possible. Focus on problem-solving methods, and algebraic techniques, and brush up on all tips and tricks.

How to prepare for the Writing and Language section of SAT?

For the Writing and Language section of SAT, you can work on your ability to recognise and correct sentence structure and grammar, punctuation, illogical comparisons and ineffective sentence formation. Read and practice as much as you can to brush up on grammar and connecting ideas and expressions of consecutive sentences and paragraphs.

Is one month enough for SAT preparation?

Yes, it can be said that one month may be enough for SAT preparation provided you are continuously endeavouring to achieve your targeted SAT score. Though studying for the SAT in one month is possible, it is recommended that you spend at least 10 to 20 hours per week over the course of two to three months.

How to prepare for the SAT Reading Test?

To prepare for the SAT Reading Test, one of the key preparation methods you can try to include is to read more books, especially by American or English authors. This will give you a chance to improve your vocabulary and understanding of phrases and words, while, enhancing your ability to draw conclusions from small passages.

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