IMPORTANT: Significant changes were made to the SAT in the spring of 2016. The preparation books published for the old SAT are out of date and should be discarded. The new test is quite different. When purchasing or borrowing a book for SAT test preparation, be sure that the book is designed for the NEW SAT and published in 2016 or after.
College Board PSAT 8/9 Information about the test
College Board PSAT Practice Tests PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10
College Board SAT Practice Tests 6 printable practice tests
College Board SAT Test Dates including registration deadlines
Khan Academy In the spring of 2016, with the release of the new SAT, the College Board partnered with Khan Academy to develop online test preparation. This link is the starting point for utilizing this unique opportunity for SAT test prep.
Princeton Review Comparison ACT v. SAT
SAT: Scholastic Aptitude Test: English, Reading, math, and an optional essay; generally taken in the junior year
SAT Subject Tests: More than 20 tests in individual subject areas within English, Math, History, Science, and Language. One or more may be required or recommended by many colleges
Time Magazine 7 changes to the new SAT
Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
When: Seven times a year, in October, November, December, January, March (or April), May and June
Where: There are many testing sites around the country. From Florence, the farthest you will probably have to travel is Coos Bay.
Creator of the SAT: The College Board, a nonprofit organization based in Princeton, NJ
Length: 3 hours, plus the optional essay which adds another 50 minutes
Organization: The SAT is divided into the following sections:
Reading (65 minutes): You will be asked to read 5 essays, and answer questions about each one. There are a total of 52 questions in this section, or about 10 questions per essay.
Writing and Language (35 minutes): You will read a series of short assignments (usually 1 to 3 short paragraphs) and answer a few questions about each assignment. The questions are based on grammar, use of vocabulary, and meaning. There are 44 questions in this section.
Math (80 minutes): There are several math sections, some that allow the use of a calculator and some that do not. Some of the math sections are multiple choice and some require that you fill in the correct answer. There is a heavy emphasis on Algebra, but there is also some Geometry and a few questions from Algebra 2.
Essay (50 minutes, optional): Some colleges will require that you take the essay portion of the SAT. The essay is based on an reading passage that is provided to you. After reading the passage, you will be asked respond in writing to a question that relates to the passage.
a) Do not leave any questions unanswered. If you don't know an answer, there is no penalty for guessing. If you are approaching the time limit for a section, fill in any remaining questions on your answer sheet with a random letter (all are statistically equally likely to be correct). If possible, try to eliminate one or two of the possible answers before guessing. That will give you a better chance of guessing correctly.
b) All questions count equally toward your total score, so don't spend too much time on any one question. If you can't figure out the answer right away, move on. You can always revisit the question later.
c) In the math sections, the easiest questions will the first ones and the hardest questions will be the last ones. Therefore, you should try to work quickly (and of course carefully) through the first part of each math section so you will have time to tackle the harder problems.
d) If you don't know how to figure out the answer to the first question you come to in a section, look for a question that you know you can answer. This will help you to gain confidence and relax.
e) Regularly compare the problem number on your answer sheet to the problem number you are answering in the test booklet. It is far too easy to get "off track" and discover (perhaps too late) that you are marking answers that don't match up with question numbers in the booklet. This is most likely to happen if you skip a question.
Test Preparation: It is widely known and proven that studying for the SAT pays off in better scores. Moreover, so many students now prepare for the SAT that you are really at a disadvantage if you don't. You may choose to study independently or with friends, but it will most likely be to your advantage to take a course if one is available. You can learn quite a lot from someone who can teach you test-taking techniques and help you to review the concepts you will need to know. Taking practice tests is an excellent way to prepare. Here's why:
a) Taking practice tests helps you to become familiar with the format, structure, and problem types on the actual test.
b) You will become familiar with the time constraints, so you will be better prepared to use your time wisely on the actual test.
c) Working problems of the type you will encounter provides you with excellent review of grammar, vocabulary, math, etc.
d) SAT problems are often written in a way that allows you to learn and apply various "tricks" and techniques to solve them quickly and/or efficiently. Since time is always a factor, learning how questions are written will help you to optimize the time available.
Practice Materials: There are many SAT prep materials available online and in bookstores. You will find books that offer practice tests published by a variety of companies (Kaplan, Princeton Review, Barrons, McGraw Hill, The College Board, and others). There are also flash cards, specialty books (math review, grammar review, etc.) and other materials. If you purchase materials, be sure that they were prepared in 2016 or after and are for the new SAT. If you plan to buy a book, you will be well-served to purchase The Official SAT Study Guide (published in 2016 or after) because it is produced by the College Board, the organization that writes the SAT.
There are also online tests. One place to find them is at the College Board practice test website. The College Board has posted 7 practice tests online, and they are free of charge.
a) Begin preparing (studying) well in advance (weeks or months) of the test. Studying regularly for short periods of time will be much better than waiting until the last minute and then having a marathon study session.
b) The SAT is not a test for which you can cram at the last minute. So, don't stay up late studying on the night before the test. Get a good night's sleep.
c) On test day, eat a good breakfast and allow plenty of time to get to the testing center.
d) Take your admission ticket, photo ID, sharpened number 2 pencils (2 or more, with erasers), a calculator, and extra batteries for the calculator. Your calculator may be a graphing or scientific type; for details, click here. YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TOO USE YOUR CELL PHONE, so don't expect to use it as a calculator. Laptop computers and tablets are also not allowed.
e) While your SAT score will be an important part of your college application material, don't give it more weight than it deserves. It is just one part of the process, and you may retake it if you are not pleased with your scores. So, prepare but don't get overly stressed.
How to Register: You may register by mail or online. Either way, go to this site to get started. Look at the menu items on the left side of the page for test dates and deadlines, test centers, registration options, fees, and more.