Creating an SAT Study Plan


When it comes to studying for the SAT, most students don’t know where to begin.  The easy way out is to head over to the local branch of one of the big prep companies.  But, that route can be inefficient time-wise, not to mention extremely expensive.  The good news is that you can create an SAT course yourself!  All you need is some good materials and a little organization.   Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Be sure to get started early, ideally at LEAST three months before test day.  Unless you’re prepping over the summer, school and other activities take up most of your day.  Allow yourself a long time frame so you don’t have to cram for eight hours a day the week before the test.
  2. Plan to average about 30 a minutes a day over that time.  Note that’s an average, not a rule.  Spend a half hour here and there, with maybe couple of hours on the weekend.  Grab fifteen minutes before soccer practice.  Keep a journal of what you’ve done, what still needs to be done, and how much time you’re spending.  And be honest!  You might be amazed how much (or little) time you’re devoting.
  3. Take a timed, as close to real as possible, practice test for starting your prep.  I always recommend downloading the free SAT from the College Board’s website and using that as your pre-test.  Be sure to use the printed version.  Don’t take the online version, since you won’t be taking the real thing online!  Use your results as a guide for your prep.
  4. As for materials, there are unlimited options.  There are online courses, books, iPhone apps, podcasts, computer programs and on and on.  Check out a few options, and see what makes sense for your learning preferences and budget.  The only must-have is the Official SAT Study Guide from the College Board.  It should be your primary source for practice sections.  Use any other resources you like to learn strategy, review math and build vocabulary.  Of course, I am biased towards for SAT vocabulary.
  5. In the early stages of your prep, do practice questions at your own pace.  Treat it as an open book test.  When you make an error, analyze it.  Always learn from your mistakes, as well as your successes.  The same types of questions appear repeatedly on the SAT.  So analyze those errors.  When you encounter a similar question on test day, you’ll know what to do!  If you’re stumped by a particular question, ask a friend or a teacher for help.  Or hire a tutor for an hour or two to get you through the tough stuff. is an amazing source for tutors nationwide if you need ideas.
  6. Lastly, ramp up your efforts as the big day nears.  By the last couple of weeks, you should be taking practice sections from the Official Study Guide under timed conditions.  Just be sure to give yourself a break the night before the test.  Nothing will hurt your score more than being tired on test day!

If you have a question I haven’t covered, feel free to send me an email at – your question may be the topic of a future post on The Fat Envelope, Word-Nerd’s test prep and college admissions blog.  Good luck everyone!

Today’s guest post is by Jennifer Cohen, President and Chief Word-Nerd at She offers some great (realistic) tips on preparing for upcoming SAT’s. is your best resource for efficient, fun SAT and PSAT vocabulary prep.

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2 Responses to “Creating an SAT Study Plan”

  1. Great post, I would suggest that you make it a bit more convenient to add this to some social media sites, throw up a big add to stumble button or something in a few places that are obvious. No sense in making it too much work to add your stuff. Also, I really like your comment layout here, is it the default setup for your theme or did you customize it?

  2. The comment boxes are the default with this WordPress theme. The option to “Share This with Friends” is also the default option. It seems pretty simple at the end of each article to click on it to share with social media sites.