“A little practice goes a long way”. That’s the signature College Board puts at the bottom of its booklet cover (Getting-Ready-for-the-SAT). With that rationale, wouldn’t lots of practice go way, way away? Indeed it would!
Any high school Junior or Senior can typically learn the SAT in a reasonably short time. That is how ETS (Education Testing Service) designs the test but mastering it to a level as required by your aspired college is a different story. It means smoothening out those rough edges in order to satisfy a certain score and the best way to accomplish that is through practice, practice, practice.
So what are some of those rough edges?
SAT questions are set in varying degrees of difficulty to sieve out the different grades of college prospects based on SAT scores. ETS achieves this by planting the difficult questions with tricks and traps. This is just the kind of blunders for which large-scale practice is most effective to circumvent. The underlying rationale is simple – practice begets familiarity, unless of course you practise the wrong stuff. Your eyes will then be open to whatever pitfalls they might lay to weed out the lesser performers.
Practice will improve speed. This is crucial as the SAT is a timed test. It doesn’t need a high IQ to realize that time pressure is the perfect ingredient for fumbles and ETS knows that too well. You’d be much better off spending time practising for the test than fighting time struggling during the test.
Practice doesn’t have to be arduous either. For example, in vocabulary development, why not open an online dictionary tab when you’re on the net? You can copy-&-paste any and all words effortlessly for a quick check, complete with audio (pronunciation), examples, synonyms, antonyms, thesaurus, references and all kinds of other smart prompts for good measure. It is surely much more purposeful and targeted than those brute flash cards, right?
They say that there’s no substitute for studies to learning. Yes, and there’s no substitute for practice to mastery. Practice does make perfect, ask those who scored 2400.