How Long Should You Study Effectively for the SAT® Exam?

Young teenage female student preparing for exams at home

How long should you study for the SAT?  That’s one of the most common questions every student asks once they decide to take the test. When calculating the proper amount of time to effectively prepare for the SAT® test, there are a few things you should consider. During your prep work, you will need enough time to: 

  • Take an initial practice test
  • Evaluate your score report
  • Practice and study the skills you need to improve
  • Take another practice exam before the official test

You should also consider whether you plan to take the exam more than once. Suppose you plan on retaking the exam after your first attempt. In that case, you need to register for a test that is far enough away to study for the first attempt, receive your scores two weeks after testing, study for the second attempt, and receive your second round of scores, all before the deadlines for college applications arrive. 

Your First Practice Test

We recommend taking one practice test at the beginning of your test prep. This practice test functions as a way to establish the baseline for your performance. You can use the data from your initial performance to create a streamlined and effective study plan that will help you achieve your desired score.

Evaluating Your Score Report

Once you have taken your first practice test, evaluate your score report. By tracking your performance on the first practice exam, you can pinpoint any weak areas you have. Decipher which question types, subsections, and sections of the SAT test you struggle with the most. 

You may find that there are skills or concepts that you are unfamiliar with throughout the exam: these are the areas of the exam you should prioritize in your studies. Paying attention to these weaker areas is an excellent way to build an understanding of how much work you need to do in order to reach your goal score. You can track your progress through these score reports as well.

Study and Practice

Once you have created a study plan that is based on your areas of weakness, you will need enough time to practice and study the concepts and skills in which you lack experience. Some students choose to spend small amounts of time studying and practicing for the exam every day. 

Other students choose to dedicate a more extended period of time once a week. You may find that joining an SAT study group is a helpful resource for support and accountability. Whatever schedule you decide for your preparation work, be sure that your work is consistent and focused. 

One More Practice Test

Now that we’ve taken a look at some pointers that could help you answer the question How long should you study for the SAT? you can take one more full-length practice test before your official exam. This will help you track your progress and get a final round of experience before the test day. This last trial of the full-length practice test is also an excellent way to gauge your test-taking endurance. The exam is long and exhausting. Without some experience with the level of focus it takes to sit for such a long exam, you may find that your performance on the official SAT test is not what you expected. Practice taking the entire exam one or more times after you feel confident in your prep work. 

You can utilize UWorld’s SAT Prep Course to be sure that you are efficient with your time throughout your studies and practice. The prep course offers thousands of sample questions that are realistic to the style and level of difficulty that you will face on the official SAT exam.

You can also take advantage of the detailed answer explanations offered throughout the prep course to learn from your mistakes or deepen your understanding of concepts that are unfamiliar to you. Lastly, you should know that the prep course offers performance tracking tools to pinpoint your weakest areas and streamline your study plan. Try it out!

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