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5 Things You Should Know About the SAT

5 Things You Should Know About the SAT

What you should know about the test that everyone dreads – the SAT.

Brandon Huffman

March 18, 2013

I’m going to give a little back-story on my experience with the fantastic test that everyone dreads – the SAT. I took it for the first time in the fall of my junior year and for the second time in the spring of that year. I did relatively well the first time I took the test, but it wasn’t good enough (you know, being an overachiever and all).

So, the second time I took it, I actually studied pretty hard for weeks. When I got into that room, I was prepared and confident and let me tell you, studying made all the difference.

After my experience of the SAT and the colleges I’ve looked at and researched, I gained a few things I think everyone should consider that involve the SAT tests.

You look at the title of this article and you might be thinking, ‘When is this guy going to shut up and put in big bold letters the five things to know?”

Well, who am I to keep my fans waiting for what they want?

1. It’s okay to take them more than once-

It’s actually extremely normal and expected to take these tests more than once. It may be a whopping $50 fee, but it is well worth it in the end. So, don’t freak yourself out by saying you need to get a perfect score the first time you take them. You always want to see what you can do to improve yourself after you know the setup of the test and what to expect.

2. Scoring-

This is information most of you out there know, but it never hurts to reiterate a few important facts.

There are three categories on the test: Critical Reading, Math, and Writing. Each of these categories have multiple sections that go with them to determine your score.

Each section is about 25 minutes, with the essay starting the test and shorter sections ending it. A perfect score is an 800 on each category.

However, most people don’t realize that the different sections are curved differently, with reading topping that curve. So if you mess up or leave some blank, don’t worry, you still might end up with a 700 or higher.

3. Preparation-

This is just a personal thing that I went through, I’m not saying that everyone should do this, but I didn’t study much for the first test. I wanted to see what I could get on the infamous test without any help or studying, just to see what my raw score could be on just my own knowledge.

The second time, on the other hand, I recommend studying greatly for it.

The second time around, you know what to expect, you’ll know what sections are your weakest and what to work on, and the higher you get your score the second time, the less likely you’ll have to take these tests again. (Honestly, who actually enjoys sitting in a room with mostly strangers for 4 hours anyway?)

4. Know what your college’s average SAT scores are-

By the time you become a junior (and, especially, a senior) you should have a pretty good idea of what colleges you would like to attend.

If you go in and check these colleges out a little bit more on their website, or websites that specialize in college searches, you can find out what the average SAT scores are for incoming freshmen.

If the college you want to attend has 80% of upcoming freshman getting a 500-600 in each category on the SAT, aim for higher than a 600.

If you get a 700 when everybody else is getting 500’s or 600’s, you increase your chances of not only getting accepted, but also getting scholarships and aid.

On the other hand, if you want to attend a college with average scores of 700 in each category, then you should study more to have a better chance of getting those scores that set you aside from everybody else.

5. Take note of the subject tests-

I saved the best for last, naturally (and the one I figured out the hard way). Many colleges recommend that you take 2 subject tests, and some colleges consider it, however, there are colleges that absolutely require these tests.

The SAT subject tests are shortened versions of the SAT that specialize in a certain topic. Those topics range from science to literature to language, to math and even to history.

Whatever your best subject is, take the SAT subject test for that topic. A high score in that test will impress college admissions and let them know you actually know your favorite category pretty well.

Just remember that if your dream college requires SAT subject tests, make sure that you take them!

These are all tips I have learned from my experience with this infamous test, but if you prepare yourself enough and have the mentality of success, you have nothing to worry about.

Good Luck!


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