SAT Expert Tips: Top 7 Test Prep Mistakes to Avoid

Top SAT Test Prep Mistakes to Avoid

We all know how important your test scores are for your college applications.

This means that the way you study leading up to the big test day is extra important! There are plenty of pitfalls and traps that you can fall into. Knowing them ahead of time is key to studying strategically, smartly and successfully.

Our expert teachers at MEK Review share the top mistakes that high school students make when preparing for the SAT exams.


Mistake #1.  Preparing for the SAT exam too late.

“Don’t start preparing too late! The biggest difference between students who score high and students who score “okay” is that the student who scored high gave themselves plenty of time to prepare! Take a practice test and figure out how far away your current score is from your goal score. Give yourself at least 1 month preparation for every 50 points you want to raise your score.”

Katie Weisman, English Teacher


Mistake #2. Not approaching exam preparation strategically.

“Many students think just taking a test again and again will improve their scores. It will improve your score a little. To improve your score a lot, you need to learn the best way to tackle the test and practice taking the test that way.”

— Rachel Erwin, Exam Prep Coordinator


Mistake #3. Not properly managing one’s time.

“Poor time management and ineffective pacing. This does not always mean go quicker; sometimes students feel too time stressed, go quickly, and haphazardly mess up on problems they should get correct.”

 Mac Porter, English Teacher


Mistake #4. Not approaching the SAT Reading section in a detailed fashion.

“Not annotating on the reading section. Because so much of the test is about reading closely, students really need to make sure they do this!”

Ashley Dorian, English Teacher


Mistake #5. Overthinking the SAT exam questions.

“Being too clever for your own good. Focus on what questions are explicitly asking for.”

— Chris Cullen, English Teacher


Mistake #6. Always apply everything you’ve learned.

“Students often believe that taking more and more tests will always be helpful to prep a test. It really comes down to how you digest EACH test and how to apply those new skills acquired to the NEXT test. You always need to study for that NEXT test.”

— Tony Kim, Exam Prep Coordinator


Mistake #7. Read text closely.

“Not reading the question closely. Too often I see students in “auto-pilot” mode, where they see numbers in a problem and work on instinct, instead of reading critically and identifying the proper steps to arrive at the answer effectively. Yes, the SAT is a timed test, but that does not mean you should rush through the questions.”

— Matthew Olive, Math Teacher


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MEK Review

MEK Review is the top learning center in North Jersey, dedicated to helping students of all ages begin an incredible success story. With our guidance, students have gained acceptances into the best schools in the country, earned top test scores, prepared for difficult admission tests, and transformed into their best selves in the classroom.To find your perfect solution, explore our programs or book your free consultation with an expert counselor!


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