The SAT is just one of the many things that high school juniors and seniors have on their plates. Along with completing schoolwork and being involved in extracurriculars, students have to set aside time to prepare for the SAT. As SAT experts, the question Kaplan hears the most from our students is, “How long should I study for the SAT?” While the answer isn’t the same for everyone, there are some general guidelines you can follow to create a study plan that will get you ready by test day.
The SAT is a three hour-long exam consisting of four different sections: reading, writing, math without a calculator, and math with a calculator. The essay portion of the SAT is optional, but most students choose to complete it, lengthening the total exam time to almost four hours. The SAT doesn’t require you to know anything outside of what you’re already learning in school, but learning exactly how to take a standardized exam can be tough.
One of the trickiest aspects of the exam is the pressure that students feel while taking it. Many students have said that if they had all the time in the world to complete the exam, they could ace it. However, there are only one or two minutes to answer each question in any given section. The pressure and timing make the SAT more difficult than it already is, which is why it’s so important to prepare for the SAT.
Generally, students put in ten to twenty hours of total study time while preparing for the SAT, but that amount could be larger or smaller depending on your score goals. There are a couple of factors you should take into consideration when determining how many hours you’ll need to put into your prep.