SAT, unlike high school teachers, does not reward completeness and does not give partial credit. The only thing that matters is the accuracy of your answers.
Why is it hard to start and stick to a self-preparation program?
Simple answer! Because there is so much “stuff” to read, and most of it is boring and sounds silly. Most of us have been there … Mom and Dad announced that they had a surprise for us. After a successful trip to Barnes and Noble, they slowly unveil the goods: a collection of fat and colorful books printed on cheap paper. Faking some enthusiasm, we grab the books and retreat to our room, hoping to find some peace. However, it is usually short lived as Mom and Dad announce that they expect us to take test Number One on Saturday at 8AM. But why? Our strong objections are simply rebutted by a stern, “Because so and so told us at the bookstore that it was important to take the test just like they do at the center.” Oh well, let’s see what the books contain. Very soon, we are reading about strategies and tricks that ALL sound so simple. After a few pages, battling the desire to fall asleep, we decide to just take one of those simple tests. After all, we are not like Joe Blogg, that bumbling idiot who gets tripped so easily. We work our way through the test finding as sole motivation the promise of a great score. Yeah, I’ll show Mom and Dad that I know all this stuff.
A few hours later, despite having gone well over the time limits, we announce to our unsuspecting parents that we may very well be done with the SAT. We give them our test and tell them, “Yep, go ahead, and score it.” Mom, knowing better, passes the fat book to dear dad. To your great surprise, you witness the fatidic (prophetic) apparition of more crosses than check marks. No, no, that can’t be. I am not Joe Blogg, the dummy from Bubba High School in Burkburnett, Texas! How could I miss the third question? A level 2 question! The verdict comes in at around 550 for the math and verbal sections. Smartly enough, you did skip that insipid writing component. Dad does not seem too surprised and simply whispers, “Better luck next time.” A short week later, after many unsuccessful attempts to read more than twenty pages, the second test yields a similar result. While you avoided the same mistakes, other problems surfaced. That silly Reading Comprehension section just killed you.
Is there an alternative?
Yes, there is! As one would expect, I’ll start with the importance of viewing the SAT as a game to be defeated. For all sports, dedicated practices are extremely important. Preparing for the SAT is no different from practicing for tennis or soccer: it's a game of strategy and repetition. As I noted earlier, the material that will be tested on the SAT is not that difficult, but the presentation and language is confusing for anyone who has not done much testing or competitions.
In my opinion, there are two important phases in preparing successfully for the test:
The first phase includes building small blocks of confidence; and,
The second one involves time management.