How To Study for the SAT® Exam at Home

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Study for the SAT® at home by setting a routine, making a study space, taking practice exams, and joining a study group. Learn more about staying focused while studying for SAT at home in this article.
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student studying on laptop and from books kept over table with coffee mug, over plain white background.
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If you plan to study for the SAT® exam at home, here are some tips to follow and important information to keep in mind.

1. Dedicate an area in your home and set a routine.

If you plan to study at home, the first thing you should do is dedicate a space to come back to for your studies and practice. Dedicating an area in your home and setting a routine is really helpful for students who struggle to focus. 

The space that you choose should have minimal distractions. Consider what environments you work best in, and set yourself up for success by finding an area that is as quiet as you need. 

Beyond setting a specific location for your studies and practice, it is also important to dedicate a regular time or schedule for your study plan. Many students find success by working multiple days a week. 

You should consider that studying in the same place and at the same time can benefit your ability to maximize your time as you prepare for the SAT exam. Ultimately, students taking the SAT exam have a lot on their plates. 

If you find that studying at home has resulted in wasted time or a lack of improvement, consider whether your workspace is distracting or dysfunctional. As you take practice exams, we recommend that you do your best to replicate the testing environment you will experience on test day. 

While your home may not look or feel like the classroom you will sit in to take the official SAT exam, there are still steps you can take to ensure that you are prepared for the environment you will work in during the official exam. 

Dedicating an area in your home for your studies can also help you transition into work mode. Irregular study habits can impact your ability to improve, so consider what factors are in your control when organizing a consistent study space.

2. Take full-length practice exams.

Another important step for your at-home studies is scheduling time to take at least two practice exams. Taking practice exams all the way through, more than once, will set you up for success on test day.
It’s important to have a strong understanding of the amount of endurance necessary to complete such a long test. Testing fatigue can impact your performance, and the best way to prepare for it is through practice. 

While you may find success studying different topics one by one, you should know that taking the entire exam in the format that the College Board® presents to you on your official test day is the only way to ensure that you have an accurate understanding of your scoring. 

By taking the Math test independently, you may receive a much higher score than you do when taking it after the Reading and Writing test. You can set realistic expectations and work accurately and efficiently towards your goals by checking in on your progress through full-length practice tests.

3. Pinpoint weak areas.

If you are studying at home, it may be difficult to pinpoint where to start. It is a good idea to set a baseline by taking one full practice test, then evaluating your score report to pinpoint the areas you can improve the most. 

Once you understand the types of questions, sections, subsections, or tests that you can score higher on, it is essential to begin dedicating time to studying the concepts and skills that are necessary. 

Once you have studied the skills and concepts, you can practice applying them when answering questions.

4. Join or Start a study group.

One last tip for working at home is joining a study group or forming one yourself. It can be really isolating to study and practice for the SAT exam all by yourself. Consider how a study group can provide you with space to talk about your stresses or concerns. 

Having a group of people to lean on can really benefit your motivation throughout your studies and preparation. You can also use a study group as a resource for learning and improving your skills with more complicated topics or concepts tested throughout the SAT exam. 

Ideally, each person in your study group will bring something unique to the table. If there is something that you don’t understand or need someone to explain to you, a study group is a great idea. 

You should also know that explaining something to someone else can really impact your ability to apply that skill.

How To Stay Focused When You’re Studying at Home for the SAT Exam

Studying for the SAT® exam at home has its complications, but it is not impossible. Here are some tips for success that can keep you motivated throughout your work at home.

Make a study plan and stick to it.

The most important thing when studying at home for the SAT exam is having a plan. Going into each day without a plan can lead to a lot of wasted time. A great place to start when making a study plan is finding out what areas you can improve the most. 

You can take a practice test that provides a score report. Then use the data provided from the practice test to outline the subsections, sections, and question types you struggled with. Working through those areas first is a great way to ensure improvement in your test scores.

Register for a test date.

Another important tip for remaining focused when studying at home is having an end date in sight. Registering for a test gives you a deadline, which is usually very effective for keeping students on track with their studies. 

You do not want to spend any time cramming information in at the last minute. Be sure that you register for a test day that gives you enough time to prepare and study. If you are studying at home and struggling to stay motivated, remember that your hard work will be worth it once test day arrives.

Track your improvements to stay motivated.

Another great way to stay motivated is by tracking your improvements. You should plan to take multiple practice tests before you sit to take the official SAT exam. Each time you take the test, look over your score report and examine the areas where you struggled. 

Looking at the score reports after each exam should give you a boost of confidence that your hard work is paying off.

Find a place in your house that is free of distractions.

Studying in a good setting makes all the difference. Find a place in your house that has minimal distractions. The most minor adjustments to your everyday space can make a huge difference. 

For example, some students study to the same playlist anytime they sit to practice for the SAT test. Find a place that allows you to focus on one thing. If you can’t physically get away from the distractions in your home, you’re not alone. Do the best that you can!

Set a timer and study in blocks. You don’t need to study all day long.

Something else that is important to keep in mind when studying at home is that you don’t need to study 24/7. Some students find it helpful to set a timer and work for a dedicated amount of time each day. Find a rhythm that works for you. 

Be sure that you dedicate time to take an entire practice exam multiple times before you sit to take the official SAT exam. You don’t need to take an entire SAT test every time you study, but taking the exam all the way through a couple of times will make a difference in your testing endurance.

It will also provide you with performance tracking data to motivate your studies further.

Start a study group and meet virtually.

Working at home can be incredibly difficult, especially if you feel alone in the process. Get a group together to meet online. This is a great way to feel supported as you work for your goals. 

Study groups are also an excellent resource for talking about questions, strategies, and stresses that come up when preparing for such a large exam as the SAT test.

If you plan to study for the SAT exam at home, consider how these tips or bits of information can help you out. If you are looking for more structure in your preparation or personalized study tools to maximize your scoring potential, check out UWorld’s SAT Prep Course.

The prep course offers thousands of detailed question explanations that you can learn from and use to deepen your understanding of the questions you get wrong. The prep course also provides a performance tracking tool that can pinpoint the areas you need to improve to reach your goal score.

You can use the thousands of sample questions provided throughout the prep course to gain experience with the style and level of difficulty you will find on the official SAT exam. Try it out to guide your studies when working at home, and reach your goal scores in time for test day!

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