One of my students’ mother casually asked me the other day when is the best time to prepare for the SAT. Although I responded only with some perfunctory remarks to her question, Mrs Lee did spark off a great deal of thoughts within me about the subject so I decided that I shall blog on it and here it goes….
Preparation is a major component in taking the SAT. The timing for it is therefore crucial and tied to several factors of your overall SAT plan: number of sittings, learning curve, proficiency level, target score, Subject Tests…, among other things. For me, the 2 most significant aspects to take into account are – Year level and Number of sittings.
The SAT is tailored to the academic level at the end of the second last year of high school. That means students would have necessarily undergone the required curriculum and be academically ready to start the preparation for the test by that time.
Number of sittings:
It is a norm to have the SAT more than once. Ideally, the first sitting should be taken as early as possible so as to afford ample time for multiple attempts and the breaks between them to accommodate follow-on actions. Since I do not particularly advocate PSAT for international students, the first outing would essentially be treated as a dry run for them. A minimum of 2 sittings is thus recommended. For me, 3 times is optimal.
Once you have scheduled your first SAT test, working out the timing to commence preparation for it is straightforward. It’s a matter of simply factoring in the lead-time, learning curve, progression rate and so forth. This should continue through to the final sitting, be it 2, 3 or more times in all. Bear in mind that the SAT timeline should align with the master college application process.
In summary, the best time to prepare for SAT is at the end of the second last year of high school, right up through college admission.