Can you prep for the SAT in one month? Absolutely. A lot of students do; most will take between one and six months to prepare. If you’re aiming for a top score, however, you have a lot to cover in just one month! So hold onto your hats, because here’s everything you need to know about your whirlwind 30-day SAT experience.
Good prep requires good materials. This is particularly true when you have a short, concentrated period of time to work in. If you had six months, you could spend some time with a book, realise it’s terrible, and move on (though obviously it’s better to avoid that!). But with only one month to prep in, you’ll want to put in some significant time picking out the best SAT study guide and materials.
There are great College Board and Khan Academy practice tests for weekends; good materials don’t have to cost a fortune! They should, however, provide full answers and explanations (as the above do), so that you can figure out where you’re going wrong.
Now’s not the time to aim blindly and hope you get a bulls eye! First of all, let’s get real: you don’t have a month to prep. See for yourself. Get out a calendar, and mark up all the time you already have scheduled: school, activities, vacations, even time set aside to watch Stranger Things if you know you’re going to do that instead of study.
Now look at your calendar again. You don’t have 30 days—you have however long is left over after you take away all those activities.
But never fear! Using an SAT study schedule can help you focus your energies where they need to go. This is another place where investing time up-front will save you time and energy in the long run: knowing that your materials and schedule are rock-solid will go a long way to boosting your confidence (not to mention getting the score you want).
Finally, make sure you don’t just follow your materials blindly. Taking a practice test once a week can take a chunk out of your weekend, but it’s a crucial part of SAT prep. It’ll tell you where your prep’s working, where it’s not, patterns of error, and a lot of other important information. In fact, the info your SAT practice tests can give you is so vital that you should spend at least as much time going over it as you did actually taking it (not like that U.S. History exam that went immediately into the recycling bin once you saw the score).
At the end of the day, prepping for the SAT in a month is a little like navigating. Know where you’re going (your score goals), set your course (with good materials and a plan), and know where you are (keep checking in). Plan ahead, and you’ll give yourself the best chance of getting there!
Special thanks to Rachel Kapelke-Dale for providing us with this article. Rachel is a high school and graduate exams blogger at Magoosh. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University, an MA from the Université de Paris VII, and a PhD from University College London. She has taught test preparation and consulted on admissions practices for over eight years. Currently, Rachel divides her time between the US and London.