SAT study plan and schedule templates

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    Discover how to pursue your ideal SAT study plan, by using SAT prep books and courses, helpful PDFs, and other resources. Determine how many months you should allot to studying so that you can schedule accordingly and reach your academic goals! In this article, we will review helpful SAT tips, plans, schedules, and other resources so that you can achieve your ideal SAT score.  

    What is an SAT study schedule and why do you need one?

    Although many colleges are adopting test-optional admission policies, submitting impressive SAT scores can increase your chances of being admitted to competitive schools. This is why it is important to have a study plan for the SATs and to review SAT tips. In order to maximize your time and effort, use this article to come up with an SAT prep plan that is well-suited for you and your individual scheduling and academic needs.  

    How to build a successful SAT study plan: A 6-step guide

    Are you wondering how to study for the SAT in a month? Or perhaps you’ve given yourself a bit more time to prepare and are searching for the best SAT study plan for 3 months. Regardless of your timeline, in this article we will review effective study habits and strategies for the SATs. We will also list valuable resources — such as an SAT study plan PDF as well as where to source your practice exams — to help you prepare. 

    01

    Determine your baseline score

    Before you begin studying for the SATs, or start thinking about PSAT study plans, it’s important to determine your baseline score by taking a diagnostic test. This will be key in helping you choose an effective SAT study plan to meet your goals and ultimately, your target score this college application season. 

    Take an official SAT practice test to determine your baseline score. Do your best to replicate the official SAT testing conditions. Take the practice exam in a quiet room, time yourself for each section, and use an SAT-approved calculator for the math questions.

    If you are wondering whether you can study for the SAT in a 

    month, knowing your baseline SAT score is key in determining whether or not this is indeed a feasible timeline and SAT study plan for you.

    02

    Determine your target score​

    Research the average SAT test scores of admitted students on your college list. To be considered a competitive applicant, your SAT scores should fall between the 25th and 75th percentile. 

    Make a list of the colleges you are applying to and their respective 25th and 75th percentile test scores. Determine which school has the highest 75th percentile; this should be your SAT target score. Find the difference between your baseline and target scores. This point margin will be key in calculating how many hours you should study to meet your target scores. 

    Now that you know your point differential, you are that much closer to comparing and contrasting study plans and timelines. Are your study needs well-suited to an SAT study plan for 1 month? Read on to find out!

    03

    Schedule your exam​

    Plan ahead and schedule your SAT exam early, taking into account any potential scheduling conflicts when you review the SAT test date options. Make sure to give yourself enough time to study and to retake your SATs before college application deadlines. 

    If you are a senior planning to take the SATs, it is especially important to determine whether your scores will be available before your college deadlines. Otherwise, you may risk having your application disqualified. Generally, unless you are applying Early Action or Early Decision, any SAT test in the fall should give you enough time.

    It’s also important to ensure that you have reliable transportation for the day of the test. 

    04

    Determine your timeline

    Find the difference between your baseline and target SAT scores. The number of points you aim to improve by will help determine how many hours you need to study before taking the SATs. Refer to the list below to help you get a better sense of how many hours you should be studying to reach your target score.

    0-30 points: 10 hours
    30-70 points: 20 hours ​
    70-130 points: 40 hours ​
    130-200 points: 80 hours​
    200+ points: 150 hours​

    Depending on your schedule and learning style, consider pursuing an 8-week intensive SAT study plan or a 4-week intensive SAT study plan.

    05

    Choose an SAT study plan​

    Remember, it’s important to pace yourself when studying for the SATs. Aim to study for 45 to 90 minutes at a time. Realistically, how many hours can you afford to study per week? Make sure you give yourself enough time to reach your study goals.

    For example, if you need to improve your score by 75 points, you will need to study for 40 hours. This means that if you are looking for a one-month SAT study plan, you will need to set aside an amount of time of 10 hours per week to study. Maybe this feels manageable, or maybe this doesn’t. Perhaps a 2-month SAT study plan, where you allot 5 hours per week to studying, is more realistic. Alternatively, if you give yourself 3 months to study for the SAT, you will only need to study for 2.5 hours per week. 

    There is no right or wrong timeline. Find what works best for you. Remember, despite your best intentions, being a high school student is often demanding, especially if you are involved in extracurricular activities. Keep this in mind as you devise your ideal SAT study plan.

    06

    Gather study materials

    When studying for the SAT make sure to use official SAT study materials. You can find official practice exams on the College Board website. The College Board also partners with the Khan Academy; you can utilize these study materials for free. You may also choose to buy an SAT prep book, enroll in an SAT prep course (that meets either in-person or virtually), or hire an SAT tutor or college counselor.  

    Remember, if you choose to gather your study materials from outside sources, the practice questions may not accurately reflect the true nature of the test. Be aware of this as you gather your study materials. A large component of studying for the SAT is familiarizing yourself with the test format. If you use outside study materials, likely you will not feel as prepared upon taking your exam. 

    3 example SAT prep schedules to choose from

    6-month study plan

    If you need to improve your SAT scores by 200+ points, the 6-month SAT study plan is most suited to your needs. Generally, this is what a 6-month study plan would look like. 

    Month 1: Take a full-length practice test and determine your baseline score. Research college admissions statistics and identify your target score. Determine the differential. Analyze your practice exam to make a list of strengths and weaknesses. Sign up for the SAT question of the day. Determine what study materials will be most beneficial.

    Month 2: Focus on your weaknesses while maintaining your strengths. Allot 45 to 90 minutes per study session. Make flashcards to help you study, with a special focus on mathematical formulas. Take practice quizzes, watch test prep videos, and consider enrolling in an SAT prep course or hiring a college counselor or SAT tutor. 

    Months 3-4: Take another full-length practice test to see if your score has improved. Use this score to help adjust your study schedule, methods, and habits. Reevaluate your testing strengths and weaknesses. Are they the same or have they shifted? Focus on your weaknesses while maintaining your strengths. 

    Months 5-6: Take another full-length practice exam. Readjust your study focus if necessary. Continue taking practice quizzes, using flashcards, referring to your SAT test prep books, watching test prep videos, and completing the SAT question of the day. Consider taking another, short-term SAT prep course.

    3-month study plan

    If you need to improve your SAT scores by 130 to 200 points, the 3-month SAT study plan is most suited to your needs. Generally, this is what a 3-month study plan would look like.

    Week 1: Take an official SAT practice test and determine your baseline score. Research college admissions statistics and identify your SAT goals and goal score. Determine the differential.

    Weeks 2-3: Analyze your practice exam to make a list of strengths and weaknesses. Sign up for the SAT question of the day. Consider enrolling in an SAT course or hiring a college counselor or SAT tutor as you prepare for the actual SATs.

    Weeks 4-7: Focus on your weaknesses while maintaining your strengths. Allot 45 to 90 minutes per study session. Make flashcards to help you study, with a special focus on mathematical formulas. Write a practice SAT essay.

    Weeks 8-11: Take another full-length practice test. Analyze the progress you’ve made. Identify key strengths and weaknesses. Continue taking practice quizzes, answering practice test questions, watching test prep videos, and referring to your SAT prep book.

    Week 12: Review key concepts. Allow yourself to have 1-3 days off from studying for the exam before the real SAT so that you do not cram before your test day. Go to bed early on the night of your exam and have a good breakfast.

    1-month study plan

    If you need to improve your SAT scores by 30 to 70 points, the 1 month SAT study plan is most suited to your needs. Generally, this is what a 1-month study plan would look like. 

    Week 1: Take a full-length practice test and determine your baseline score. Research college admissions statistics and identify your target score. Identify your standardized test strengths and weaknesses.

    Week 2: Take another full-length practice test. Identify whether your strengths and weaknesses match your findings from last week. Focus on your weaknesses while maintaining your strengths. Allot 45 to 90 minutes per study session. 

    Week 3: Take another official SAT practice test. Analyze your score and answers. Focus on your weaknesses while maintaining your strengths. Allot 45 to 90 minutes per study session. Review foundational concepts. 

    Week 4: Take a final practice exam. Review your exam. Review key concepts. Allow yourself to have 1-3 days off from studying for the exam so that you do not cram before your test day.

    Choosing the right SAT practice schedule for yourself

    There are lots of factors to consider when choosing the right SAT schedule and plan for you. Review the tips below to help your plan ahead for this college application season. 

    Plan ahead

    Take a practice exam and identify your goals and target score early. There are lots of SAT study plans and schedules to consider. To determine the best fit, consider how many hours you will need to study and realistically how many hours you can study per week.

    Gather the best resources for you

    There are lots of SAT study resources to choose from. Find what works best for you! Take free SAT practice tests and sign up for the SAT question of the day through the College Board website. Visit the Khan Academy’s website as well for other free resources. Buy yourself an SAT prep book, such as the Official SAT Study Guide. Consider signing up for an SAT prep course or SAT tutoring, especially if you are struggling with a particular section such as the math section or the reading and writing section. Depending on your application goals, you may even consider hiring a college counselor. 

    Commit to a regular study schedule

    High school is a busy time with lots of demands on your schedule. To balance everything and manage your time wisely, commit to a regular study schedule. This will help keep you on track, as well as help you avoid procrastination and last-minute studying. 

    It’s okay if you need to adapt your study routine on occasion as other responsibilities arise. Your ideal SAT study plan should be adaptable and fit into your other schedules and routines. By having a consistent, baseline schedule, you are most likely to maximize your time and efforts. Consider using our 4-week intensive study plan or our 8-week intensive study plan as a helpful baseline as you design your own personalized schedule. Print out each SAT study plan pdf to help you brainstorm and get organized. Remember to allot extra time to focus on the sections you find more difficult, such as the reading section or the math section.

    Key takeaways on SAT plans

    Taking the SATs can feel stressful and overwhelming. With the right study schedule, however, you can work hard to meet your goals! Remember, students who are familiar with the SAT testing format are more likely to succeed and increase their scores.

    Most students plan to take the SATs at least twice. According to a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, on average, students’ SAT test scores improved by approximately 60 points during their second test. This is why it is so important to study for the SATs and set yourself up for success this college application season.

    FAQs

    Still have questions? Read on for some frequently asked questions and answers about the SAT test. You may also decide to conduct more research on ACT prep if you decide to take both standardized tests.

    A good SAT study plan is individualized and takes into account your schedule, learning style, strengths, and weaknesses. An effective study plan should be adaptable to suit your individual needs. For example, if you feel like you should spend more time studying for a particular section of the SAT, such as the SAT math section, you should do so! 

    Plan accordingly, periodically check your progress by taking an official SAT practice test, give yourself enough study time each week, and make any necessary adjustments. 

    One month is enough time to study for the SATs if you are trying to increase your baseline practice score by 30 to 70 points. If you need significantly more points to reach your target goal, your SAT study guide timeline should reflect this. Some students will spend up to 6 months preparing for the exam.  

    Two months is enough time to study for the SATs if you are trying to increase your baseline practice score by 70 to 130 points. Again, if you need significantly more points to reach your target goal, your SAT study guide timeline should reflect this.

    When you seek out free practice SAT tests, make sure they are official practice exams. Visit the College Board website for official practice exams. You can also gather free study materials through College Board’s partner, the Khan Academy. If you gather your study materials from outside sources, the practice questions and tests may not accurately reflect the true nature of the test. 

    Prepare for the SAT at home by making yourself a study plan! Take an official practice exam to determine your baseline score; research average scores of admitted students at the colleges on your college lists; and identify your target score in order to qualify for your top schools. Then gather the appropriate study materials and make a study plan to prepare for your test date.

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