Effiko's Blog
SAT


So last time, we talked extensively about what it takes to be in the class of people who ace the SAT with a perfect score. We took the time to explain the challenges involved and how to tackle them at the level of your mind so that you’ll be fit enough to begin to employ the study strategies required. If you missed that post, you can click on this link, and it will take you back to it. We advise that you read that post before you begin with this one as it will put you in perspective and will keep you from getting lost in this new one.

That said, let’s jump in heads first…

Now, you must understand that the SAT is very unforgiving when it comes to getting a perfect score. There is only room for next to no errors at all. Let’s break down what is expected of you from each section:

Reading: Getting a perfect score in this section depends on the curve for the particular test you’re taking.  Sometimes, with 2 errors you might still be able to get a perfect score, other times, not. But to be on the safe side, you’ll be better off aiming for zero error. However, with 1 error at the most, you could still get your perfect score.

Math: This section is merciless. If you have even one miss, you’re gone. No more perfect score.

Writing: Aim for zero errors. Sometimes, the curve of a particular test might be accommodating to one error but most times, it isn’t. You, therefore, have to ensure that you aim for and achieve zero errors if you want a perfect score.

From this breakdown, you should get the gist already: missing one question consistently during practice is not safe. For a perfect score, we have to keep it one hundred every single time. But how exactly do we achieve this seemingly unachievable feat?

Practice with only the best study books

This is way important. Remember what we told you to write down in our last discuss? Good. The SAT is very different than any other test you have ever done. The questions are set in really crazy ways and you need a book that understands that “crazy” so that you can familiarize yourself with it before test day.

It is not about practicing with a tougher or a simpler book; we already told you that you know these questions. It’s about practicing with books that set their questions “College Board style”. The number one book you should therefore be going for is the official SAT guide from College Board itself but that shouldn’t be your final stop. This book will not necessarily give you all that you need to get a perfect score. See, the SAT needs to retain that competitive edge, so do you think, they’ll call a town hall meeting and expose their secrets to blasting their test to the moon and back in one sitting? Of course not! This is why its study books alone won’t suffice. The book is, no doubt, vital but combined with another powerful prep book, it is invaluable. In essence, you need other study books which will demystify the SAT, and equip you with all the tips and tricks you need to ace it.

There are lots of rascals all over the place marketing terrible prep books authored by people who have never even seen an SAT registration form before, and that’s why we have already prepared a review on some of the best SAT prep books written by renowned authors. This should help you and protect you from the rascals. Checking out the reviews is free, so do check them out! And please avoid cheapies. It’s a perfect score we’re aiming for here, remember?

And while prepping with these books, ensure that you complete at least 15 different full-length practice tests before test day. You should know why. Also, practice more with pencil and paper. The SATs are not yet computer-based. So as part of familiarizing yourself with “College Board style”, choose paper and pencil over practicing online. By the way, this is another reason the Official SAT guide trumps most other books: it offers lots of full-length practice tests on paper.

We have also gone one step further to provide 8 official practice tests for the SAT. So go ahead and download all the practice tests without forgetting the mobile app that will help you assess how well or otherwise you are doing. The app is available for Android and iOS.

Carry out a candid analysis of your strengths and weaknesses

This is what differentiates a smart student from a hard working one. You can’t just be studying aimlessly, practicing by trial and error. You must know the areas where you are thriving and the areas that need some work, or a lot of work as the case may be. Doing this gives you focus and helps you draw a water-tight plan on how you intend to approach your study time.

Now in analyzing your strengths, if you find that you’re scoring 700 consistently in any section, it means that you’re having issues understanding 10 to 15% of the questions in that particular section which is a really precarious place to be if we’re aiming for a perfect score. So since we can’t have that, how do we get you to start scoring 800?

  • While practicing, make sure you mark every question that you’re not sure of. Every single one of them.
  • Next, after marking your test, make sure you review every question. Go over the ones you failed, including the ones you guessed right.
  • Have a log book where you document the details of the errors you made, why you made them, and how you can keep from repeating them again in the future. This will prove very resourceful to you in your study time. Don’t just skim over the answers; you must understand why the correct answer is the correct answer and understand how to go about picking the correct answer when such kind of question shows up again. Make sure you keep practicing them till you grasp them properly.
  • You can also make these entries into flash cards that you can keep on checking out even when you’re less busy and not actively studying, like while you’re having lunch for instance.
  • Now with this log book you’ve created (for every single error you’ve ever made, remember?), you should be able to notice a pattern common to your most consistent errors. Once you have noticed this pattern, then you must drill the life out of it till you are safely out its grip. Don’t overlook anything. Remember that the SAT forgives not.
  • There’s always that temptation to want to drill your strengths because it makes you feel good when you’re soaring but it takes a certain kind of strength to swallow the bitter pill of failures and practice your way into perfection in the midst of several discouraging misses mocking you. Remember that you don’t have all the time in the world. The time you have is quite limited and as such, you must be smart with the little time you have. Use the little time you have to boost your weaknesses and level them with your strengths.
  • Finally, ensure that you’re not repeating careless errors. The goal must always be to always get a perfect score in each section every time, after all it’s a perfect score we’re aiming for on the actual test.

Just Before the Test Day

Now, that you have practiced and you are finally getting closer to test day, what happens next?

  • Number one, ensure that you have enough rest the night before. Do not try to read anything anymore. You’ve worked hard all the long while up to that point. What your brain needs is a good, deserved, undisturbed rest for at least 8 hours.
  • Then when you get to the hall, ensure that you are calm. Don’t get in over your head. Don’t get jittery or nervous. Just take small breaths and remember that you paid your dues. And even if the SAT is unforgiving. It’s unforgiving to those who are unprepared.
  • Make sure that you have five minutes to spare at the end of each section so that you can easily double-check your answers to be certain. You need this to reduce your error margin for the purpose of a perfect score.
  • And then again, do not allow any one question entrap you for more than 30 seconds. Now this already suggests to you that you must have a wrist watch on hand in the test room. In fact, while practicing, practice with this rule. Once it seems like a particular question is taking longer than 30 seconds, just leave it and attend to others so that you can save time. Spending too much time on one question robs you of time to solve others that you know properly and then in the end, when you get pressed for time, you could resort to guesswork or select a lot of wrong answers in a bid to save time.

Give Yourself a Treat

Whew! Finally, the exam is done and the climax of all the prep has plateaued. How should you feel? Like a champion! Just sit back, relax and expect your perfect score. It will be really nice to have a treat planned for yourself so that afterwards you can pamper yourself for a job well done.

However, life happens and sometimes the tides do not turn out well, and sometimes people still don’t land that perfect score, even after a lot of practice. But hey, it’s not a big deal. Celebrate yourself anyway. The hard work you put in alone is worth celebrating. You can always take the test again. Probably the first time was nerves, the second time around, you should nail it. Whatever happens, remember why you wanted a perfect score in the first place and make sure you do not give up without a fight.

And that’s all folks! We have been able to go over the basic pointers required to help you get that perfect score on the SAT and we’re so sure that you will. So get cracking, your perfect score awaits you. Bon chance!

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