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SAT Study Guide: The Week Before Test Day

Follow this 1-week SAT Study Plan to learn about the SAT, find quick ways to improve your score, and build your test-taking endurance. This plan assumes you have about five hours over the weekend and 90 minutes each weeknight to spend on SAT prep, but feel free to adjust it to fit your schedule. The more time you spend prepping, the better you’re likely to do on test day. This plan also assumes that you have access to an SAT prep book, like Kaplan’s Prep, Prep Plus, or Total Prep books.  

 

1-Week SAT Study Guide

1-Week SAT Study Guide: Day 1 (Saturday)

1-Week SAT Study Guide: Day 2 (Sunday)

  • Practice SAT Math (2 hours): Read Kaplan’s What’s Tested on the SAT Math Section? and 5 Must-Know SAT Math Tips.  Next, read the chapter in your SAT book that covers SAT math strategies and answer as many practice questions in the chapter as you have time for. 
  • Print and take SAT Practice Test 1 (3 hours): This official test from the CollegeBoard (the test maker for the SAT) will get you familiar with the format of the test and start building your endurance. Take it all in one sitting and follow all the instructions to be as realistic as possible. Don’t worry about the essay unless you know it’s particularly important for a school you’re applying to. Download the Daily Practice App to easily get your score (and to sneak in extra practice during the week).

1-Week SAT Study Guide: Day 3 (Monday)

  • Review SAT Practice Test (90 minutes): Go over all the questions you missed until you understand where you went wrong and how you could have gotten them right. Use the explanations from the CollegeBoard and supplement with Magoosh’s video explanations for the extra-tricky ones. Take notes about any traps you kept falling for and content areas you need to review.

1-Week SAT Study Guide: Day 4 (Tuesday)

  • Practice Reading Passage (30 minutes): The best way to get better at reading is daily practice. Print out the entire SAT Practice 3 but just read the first passage and answer questions 1-10. Then use the CollegeBoard explanations to review. Keep adding to your notes. 
  • Study Content (30 minutes each Math + Writing): Head to the SAT Practice page at Khan Academy and review the topics you flagged as needing help with when reviewing your practice test. For each topic, start with the example videos and then take and review the quiz. Spend 30 minutes on Math, then another 30 on Writing & Language (including Grammar). 

1-Week SAT Study Guide: Day 5 (Wednesday)

  • Practice Reading Passage (30 minutes): Keep practicing and reviewing passages from SAT Practice Test 3, this time focusing on questions 11-21.
  • Study Content (30 minutes each Math + Writing): Spend another 30 minutes each reviewing Math and Writing & Language topics from the SAT Practice page at Khan Academy. If you run out of topics that seem useful, follow Khan Academy’s recommended next steps instead. 

1-Week SAT Study Guide: Day 6 (Thursday)

  • Practice Reading Passage (30 minutes): Keep practicing and reviewing passages from SAT Practice Test 3, this time focusing on questions 22-32.
  • Take Writing & Language Section (60 minutes): Take the Writing & Language section from the SAT Practice Test 3 that you printed out, keeping to the 35-minute timing. Then review as usual.

1-Week SAT Study Guide: Day 7 (Friday)

  • Practice Reading Passage 4 (30 minutes): Keep practicing and reviewing passages from SAT Practice Test 3, this time focusing on questions 33-42.
  • Take No-Calculator Math Section (50 minutes): Take the No-Calculator Math section from the SAT Practice Test 3 that you printed out, keeping to the 25-minute timing. Then review as usual, paying extra attention to tips for improving your mental math skills. 
  • Prepare for Test Day (10 minutes): Read the Test Day Checklist and What to Expect on Test Day from the CollegeBoard. Follow their advice and pack a bag with everything you’ll need tomorrow.

1-Week SAT Study Guide: Test Day (Saturday)

  • Ace your official test: Get a good night’s sleep, eat a balanced breakfast, and arrive early to your testing location with your supplies. Pace yourself and answer every question (there’s no longer a penalty for guessing on the SAT). And, when you’re done, celebrate!

Last-Minute SAT Prep Tips

  • Relax the evening before the SAT.

    Even if you do some last-minute review the day before the SAT, be sure to give yourself the evening to relax. Watch a movie, read something entertaining, or spend time with friends or family, and go to bed at a reasonable time so you can be alert in the morning.

  • Eat a healthy breakfast on test day.

    Don’t skip breakfast the morning of the SAT! And make sure you don’t overeat or have anything too greasy—more blood will have to be redirected to your stomach to digest everything, leaving less blood to keep your brain sharp and alert. 

  • Do some reading before the test.

    While you’re eating, spend some time reading a difficult article (e.g. an editorial or report in the newspaper). Don’t let the first complex thing you read on SAT day be the reading comprehension passages. Reading something substantial at breakfast will help wake your brain up before the exam.