By: Nathan Rosell, 11th grade
The SAT is an important standardized exam that most high school students take in order to show how proficient they are at material expected to be known in 11th grade. Colleges review SAT scores to have a better idea how students may perform at the college level.
The SAT is split into five sections: Reading, Writing (basically grammar), Math without a calculator, Math with a calculator, and the essay. When I took the SAT, I made sure to do a lot of preparation so I could get the sort of score I was looking for. To prepare, I utilized some SAT preparatory books that I purchased online from Amazon. The two books I found most helpful were the book by the Princeton Review and the official SAT prep book published by the College Board. Whether taking standardized tests or AP/IB exams, these preparatory books helped me a lot and I’d look into getting one to use if you want to improve your score. I also did preparation via Khan Academy and I signed up for a course at Northwestern to make sure I was studying correctly.
During the exam, on the reading portion, I made sure to read the questions before reading each article so I could know what I was looking for in the articles. Most of the time, when there are analytical-based questions that are hard to figure out, the correct answer has the best and most reasonable basis in the text. In the writing section, you have to work fast as there are 44 questions in 35 minutes. The most important advice I can give is not to read the entirety of each passage. This section is not like the reading section where you likely have to read the entire passage for comprehension; but in this instance, if a section of a passage is not underlined, that means it is not part of the grammar that is being asked about, so it is irrelevant.
For the mathematics section, the best advice I can give is to not focus on the problems you don’t know but to devote your time to the ones you recognize. For math, I’d recommend practicing a lot on Khan academy or with a prep book.For the essay, I would suggest creating an outline so you know what you are going to write and how you are going to write it. The SAT essay has a basis in rhetorical analysis, so I’d make sure to study up on rhetorical devices and know how to measure an author’s effectiveness of them in their argument.
Make sure to have a hearty breakfast on the day of the exam; Clemente certainly provided that when we took the SAT here. Dr. Sorensen gave us a great breakfast, from pancakes to sausage and eggs. It’s also important to be well-rested so that it’s possible to maintain focus. I’d also recommend taking a practice SAT at least once before you take the real exam. I had taken the SAT once before, prior to transferring to Clemente, but for me, it was really helpful to be taking the SAT for the second time here because I had a better idea what to look for when working on each section. Good luck to anyone planning to take the SAT in the future!