How to Get Ready for SAT Tests

The SAT tests are used by many high school students across the country to help them select which four-year college they should attend. It is important for prospective students to take these tests seriously and get prepared. Like everything else in your college application process, the more you plan and prepare for SAT tests, the better the chance that you will achieve good scores and successfully impress college admissions committees. 

Many colleges have SAT test requirements for admission because grades are not the only objective measure of a student’s academic abilities. If a student experiences a tough semester that leads to a lower grade point average (GPA), then an excellent SAT score demonstrates to a college admissions committee that they perform well under pressure and have academic prowess. 

The SAT test has three different sections: reading, writing, and math. Taking these tests requires a lot of preparation, but it can be done effectively with the right techniques. 

How to Get Ready for SAT Tests

The first step to getting ready for the SAT tests is to understand what is being tested. 

The SAT Reading and Writing Test

The test is actually broken down into two different sections:

Reading comprehension

Focuses on assessing your ability to read and interpret literary and informational texts. Each reading test consists of five passages with 10 to 11 questions each, for a total of 52 questions. One of the five sets of questions will be about two “paired” shorter passages. The total time to complete the reading test is 65 minutes.

The reading comprehension questions fall into three categories: What the passage says, directly or indirectly, How the author conveys meaning, and How do you draw conclusions and make connections between two related passages or between passages and informational graphics

Writing and Language

Focuses on format and content, specifically to identify mistakes in sentences and passages and revise them to make them better.

The SAT Writing and Language Test consist of four passages with 11 questions each for a total of 44 questions. The total time to complete the test is 35 minutes.

The questions fall into two types: Expression of Ideas, that is, to identify and improve the effectiveness of communication in a piece of writing, and Standard English Conventions, meaning, review that the sentences are consistent with standard written English grammar, usage, punctuation, and other conventions/rules.

The SAT Math Test

The SAT Math Test is divided into two broad sections: The first one with 38 questions, and the second one with 20 questions where calculators are not permitted.

The test is divided into four content areas: Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, Passport to Advanced Math, and Additional Topics in Math.

Content Area


Number of Questions

Heart of Algebra

Analyzing and fluently solving equations and systems of equations; creating expressions, equations, and inequalities to represent relationships between quantities and to solve problems; rearranging and interpreting formulas

19 questions

Problem Solving and Data Analysis

Creating and analyzing relationships using ratios, proportions, percentages, and units; describing relationships shown graphically; summarizing qualitative and quantitative data

17 questions

Passport to Advanced Math

Rewriting expressions using their structure; creating, analyzing, and fluently solving quadratic and higher-order equations; purposefully manipulating polynomials to solve problems

16 questions

Additional Topics in Math

Making area and volume calculations in context; investigating lines, angles, triangles, and circles using theorems; and working with trigonometric functions

6 questions

Tips to Ace the SAT Tests

Here are simple, yet effective tips that will help you to get ready for the SAT test in the most effective way possible: 

  • Practice as much as possible, the more familiar you are with the format and type of questions, the better.
  • Be strategic, focus on what is crucial to memorize and what topics you can be less strict (and guess)
  • Test-taking is about time management and stress control. Pace yourself and adjust your time as necessary.
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