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Tuesday Q&A: What’s the Best Way to Study for the SAT?

July 30, 2013 :: Admissionado Team


I’m trying to decide between classes, tutors, study guidebooks…what is the best way to study for the SAT?


The list of options for ways to study for the SAT is like a bad Chinese food takeout menu: long, confusing, and covered in soy sauce stains. We understand how much you just want to throw the whole thing out the window and eat a tub of ice cream for dinner instead. But don’t give up. Somewhere on that menu is the perfect dinner combo for you.

Well, depending on your local restaurants, maybe not, but we do promise you can figure out the best way to study for the SAT.

All kidding aside, this is a VERY important topic. While your SAT score won’t be THE deciding factor in your application, it can be a comparison point between you and other applicants. So it’s always a good idea to put your best foot forward and study to the absolute best of your ability.

Here are a few tips and questions to help you evaluate your best study style. (You can also apply these to the SAT II.)

1)   Evaluate your subject strengths and weaknesses. Are you significantly stronger in math, verbal, or writing? Chances are you will need to spend more time on your weak spots. Depending HOW weak you are in this area, you may need a tutor or a class.

2)   How are you at figuring out concepts on your own? Do you tend to need some extra guidance in certain areas? If so, a tutor or class could be the way to go.

3)   How self-motivated are you? Do you have an easy time getting yourself to sit down and study, or do you need more guidance? If you’re consistently a self-starter and a super diligent student, you may be okay with a study book. (Most people are NOT crazy on top of their stuff enough to study on their own, so don’t feel bad if this just isn’t you.)

4)   How’s your attention span? If you’re kind of all over the place, a one-on-one tutoring situation might be the smart choice for you.

5)   How overwhelmed do you get from schoolwork? If you find yourself getting super stressed out when your workload is heavy, having a tutor or a class could be helpful. These offer extra support since you’re working with others.

Obviously, some brutally honest self-assessment is necessary here, and you may not be so thrilled to admit to yourself that you NEED the extra help of a tutor or a class. But in the end you’ll thank yourself. We’re looking forward to hearing about your success!

Also, if you know of any good Chinese takeout places in Los Angeles, Chicago, or NYC, please pass that info along. Obviously we are in desperate need of decent restaurant recommendations.