How Much Time Should You Devote to SAT® Prep?

College student writing in workbook doing homework or preparing for SAT exam in library sitting at desk.
Learn what a successful study plan looks like and how much time you should devote to SAT® prep in order to achieve effective results.
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College student writing in workbook doing homework or preparing for SAT exam in library sitting at desk.
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Preparing for the SAT® test can seem like a daunting process, but having a timeline really helps you understand how much SAT prep time you require. Here is a breakdown of an efficient and effective study plan.

Daily Preparation

Having a goal for daily SAT preparation can eliminate the stress of cramming for the test. Waiting until the last minute to learn skills, practice timing, learn from your mistakes, or create realistic expectations for the exam is not ideal. To prevent stress, we recommend spending 20–30 minutes a day reviewing your weak points, practicing test problems, and studying. 


When building a study plan, we recommend starting your preparation three months before your registered exam. Keep this in mind when registering to ensure that you have ample time to prepare. 

Consider the Superscoring Process

As you plan your testing schedule and make a study plan, consider the superscoring process. Superscoring combines your highest scores for each section of the SAT test across any number of test dates. 

You can spend one test date focused on your Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score and wait until another test date to focus on your Math score. This allows you to prioritize your studies one section at a time instead of focusing on the entire test each time you take it. 

Your highest score from each section will be used by schools that use superscoring. If you choose to strategize through this process, plan accordingly for the time between each exam and consider registering early. 

Retaking the Exam 

When considering whether to retake the SAT exam, consider how much time you will need to spend studying and learning from the first attempt. Remember to consider the many other things on your schedule, how much time you can dedicate to SAT prep time, and whether you have enough time to retake the exam before application deadlines. 

Registering to take the exam at the end of your junior year will give you ample time to receive your results and decide whether to retake the exam. You will then be able to register to retake the exam in the fall of your senior year. This schedule gives you time through the summer to practice your weak points in preparation for your second attempt. 

Base your preparation work and studies around weaker sections, subsections, and question types. Use your time wisely by focusing on the areas in which you can improve the most. Your initial attempt at the SAT test can display these weak performance areas. Do everything you can to ensure that your second attempt finds you well prepared to boost your scores.

Try out UWorld’s SAT online learning tools to prepare for the SAT test. Whether you are preparing for your first attempt at the SAT or working to improve your skills for a retake, you can benefit from the performance tracking tools, answer explanations, and practice tests we offer. Try it out to build an effective study plan and maximize your scoring potential!

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