How to Study for the SAT

How to Study for the SAT

– More than 2.2 million students took the SAT exam in 2019.

– The average score for the 2019 SAT exam was 1059.

If you’re planning on going to college, chances are that you’ll be required to take the SAT exam. The SAT is an entrance exam that is part of your admissions process into many colleges and universities in the country.

The SAT is used to measure what you learned in high school and if have what you need in order to succeed in college. You’ll be measured on two main sections; Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. Both the Math and Reading/Writing sections are scored separately between 200 to 800 points. You are not penalized for wrong answers.

You’ll also be given the choice to take the optional Essay section, which is scored and reported separately from the overall test scores.

The SAT is given 7 times a year, March, May, June, August, October, November, and December.

There is no correct answer when it comes to a good SAT score. A good SAT score varies depending on what college or university you’re applying to. One college may require you to have a 1400 while another college may require you to have a lower score.

No matter what score you’re trying to achieve, it’s always best to try to strive to do your best and to get the highest score you possibly can.

What Does SAT Stand For?

So, to do that, here are a few tips to help you prepare for the SAT.

1.Learn the Format of the SAT
Before studying for any exam, it’s important to learn the format of that exam. Learning the format of the SAT exam will help you to understand more about what you need to study. You should learn about each section of the exam, how many questions in those sections, and what types of questions you’ll be given.

Here are a few things to know about the SAT exam:

There are three sections on the SAT.

  • The exam includes an optional 50-minute essay.
  • The total time to take the SAT exam is 3 hours and 50 minutes.

How Long is the SAT Test?

2. Understand What You Need to Study
You probably already have some sort of idea as to what will be on the exam such as the math and reading sections. On top of learning the format of the exam, you also need to learn exactly what you need to study to make a good score. Take the time to grab a study guide and look over the content of the exam.

Here’s some insight as to what you should expect on the exam:


You’re given 52 questions with five passages containing:

• 1 passage on the US or world literature
• 2 passages on history/social studies
• 2 passages on science (which may include graphs and/or charts)

This section tests your skills over:

  • Command of Evidence: Your ability to find concrete evidence within the given passages to support the author’s claim or answers to specific questions.
  • Words in Context: Your ability to decipher the meanings of vocabulary words within the context of a passage, and your ability to understand how word choice influences the style and tone of a text.

SAT Reading Study Guide

Writing and Language Section

This section consists of passages that contain 45 multiple-choice questions. The passages included in this section cover a variety of topics such as careers, history, social studies, science, and the humanities.

You’re given questions to measure your skills in:

  • Command of Evidence
  • Words in Context
  • Expression of Ideas
  • Standard English Conventions


There are 58 multiple-choice questions that are broken up into a 20-question section with no calculator and a section with 38 questions where a calculator is allowed.

SAT Math Study Guide

Optional Essay

If you choose to take the essay, you have 50 minutes to complete it. You will be required to ready a passage that contains 650 to 750 words and then write an essay that analyzes how the author constructs their argument as well as how persuasive the argument is.

The skills that you’ll be tested in with the essay section include:

  • Reading
  • Analysis
  • Writing

When Do SAT Scores Come Out?|What is the Highest Possible SAT Score?

SAT Exam Secrets Study Guide
SAT Exam Secrets Study Guide

3. Use an SAT Study Guide

Using a study guide to prepare for the SAT can help you a great deal. A study guide will be able to give you a chance to dig deeper into the content of the exam. You’ll also be able to review any sections or contents that you feel that you need more review with.

4. Start Studying Early

You don’t want to wait until the last minute to start studying. Your junior and senior year of high school is going to be busy and you may have a lot of important events to attend, so it’s important that you start studying early. Try to choose a test date in the middle of your junior year or the beginning of your senior year. This will give you enough time to start studying early and give yourself the opportunity to retake the test if you need to before you submit college applications.

What is a Good SAT Score?

5. Brush Up on Grammar

About 1/3 of the SAT is writing and a big chunk of that relies on knowing SAT grammar and punctuation rules. You need to make sure that you have a solid grasp of the rules on written English.  Make sure you take the time to brush up on grammar including punctuation such as commas, semicolons, and colons.

SAT Exam Flashcards Study System
SAT Exam Flashcards Study System

6. SAT Flashcards

Using flashcards to prepare for the SAT can help you in a lot of areas. Flashcards allow you to focus on one key concept at a time rather than large amounts of information at once. This can help you retain information for a longer period of time. Flashcards are great to use when you’re brushing up on grammar and punctuation!

7. Create a Study Plan

It’s easier to get things done when you have a plan. Creating a study plan for the SAT can help you to stay on track with your studies. It’s important to sit down and write out a study plan with what works with your life, school, and any other obligations you may have. Devote a couple of hours each day to studying. It’s also a great idea to break down each section of the exam into blocks and study one concept at a time.

8. SAT Practice Tests

Practice tests are a great way to measure what you know and which sections you will do well in. It’s best to take a practice test or two when you feel that you’re almost ready to take the actual exam. By doing this, you’ll be able to narrow down which concepts and areas you need more work in and which ones you are doing well in. Get started with our SAT Practice Test!

Published by

Jay Willis

Jay Willis joined Mometrix as Vice President of Sales in 2009, and has developed several key strategic relationships that have enhanced the distribution of Mometrix products. With nearly 20 years of sales experience in the publishing industry, his dedication to providing the highest quality experience for customers, coupled with his sales and marketing expertise, has resulted in significant growth of the Institutional Sales division. Learn more