[VIDEO ANSWER] How much time is required to complete SAT review?
Test Prep Authority – Office Hours #1 – Question: “How much time is required to complete SAT review?”[toggle title=”Click to Open Video Transcript” color=”gray”]It’s how much time is required to complete SAT review? And, for example, if a student is planning to take the SAT on the 24th of January, will they have enough time to start the review course now and still benefit from the information, or should more time be allowed?
So, I’m assuming that this question is about my online SAT course, The Green SAT System, and, in general, the answer to this question is kind of funny. It’s the more, the better. When it comes to getting good at the SAT or the ACT, basically you just want to look at it this way. You want to go in and you need to knock out three things. One: Material. Do you know all of the material that you need to understand? For instance, if you don’t know how to find the area of a triangle, then you’re not going to be able to find the area of a triangle. It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how prepared you are for the test, you’re dead when it comes to any problem that it has you do that. So you need to find this material. Now, where do you stand, right? If you have no idea what 75% of the formulas you need to know are for the ACT math section, you need to do a lot of work. None of it’s hard, none of it is impossible to understand or even difficult to understand. It’s just like learning Spanish, right? Is learning, “Hola, mi llamo Antonio,” difficult? No, but you have to do it. So it takes time, and the fewer words you know, the more you need to learn. That’s really the simple way to look at it.
The second thing is Strategy. And strategy actually takes a little bit less time than material. And strategy is really things like, how do you approach the questions? Because on both the SAT and the ACT, they’re very different exams, and they have different ways of messing with you so that they’re not just pure application. And the very quick way to think about this is that the SAT is a puzzle, the ACT is a sprint. So basically on the SAT, they won’t just ask you, “Here’s an equation. Solve it.” They’ll say, “A certain farmer has a truck and it drives at 32 miles per hour, but then his miles per hour decreased by 15%, but the road decreases by 10%, and therefore if you increase his oil efficiency by…etc.” They’re going to ask you really annoying questions. It’s the same stuff as an equation, but it’s really weird and it’s tough to decipher. You need to know how do you approach that?
Onto critical readings, you need to know certain key strategies. For instance, do not select a right answer, kill wrong answers. This is stuff I teach in my online programs, but the basic idea is that if you’re trying to prove something right, you’re never going to be able to do it and that’s why both the SAT and the ACT reading sections are seen as so hard even though you’re fluent in English. And if you ever ask yourself, “Why is it that I’m fluent in English? I know how to read, and yet I read these English passages, read English questions and can’t answer them.” It’s because they’re trying to mess with your head. So you need the right strategies.
That takes a little bit less time. It depends on how quickly it clicks, but…now, the final thing is application. Right? You can have all of the material knowledge, you can know all of the strategies and then you can not be used to applying it during a real test. You might not know, how long does it really take you to complete each section? How quick are you at doing certain things? So you need to fight through all this stuff and…hold on one second, let me just adjust adjust my…there you go. Basically, you need to kind of think about how long things are taking you, and it’s a very, very personal process. So, with that in mind, I usually think that the sweet spot is three months. Whenever I work with one-on-one students, I always say that you should spend three months prepping, and then from there, you’re pretty much ready. Some students, it might just a little bit of a fine-tuning exercise.
So, if you have a 2250 on the SAT, first of all, you don’t really need to prep anymore. Anything above a 2250 is sort of a glory point, but it doesn’t really need to happen. But, if you have a…if you want to get a 2400, you might need, I don’t know, three weeks. But if you have a 1400 and you want to break a 2100, it might take you significantly more than three months. The key idea, though, is that you want to get started as soon as possible and track your results, and see what you can get out of it. My online program, both the ACT and the SAT programs, are top loaded. And what I mean by that is that the most important, most essential strategic and material stuff is all upfront.
Some people only use my programs for about 10 days, they still see pretty big results. I’ve had kids go up 200, 250 points in a week just by learning the key strategies that I teach for the SAT and two or three points on the ACT in a week just by learning the key strategies. And then, as you go, it’s more and more fine-tuning. So, just as when you move to Spain, the first thing you need to learn are the most common 250 words, “I am,” “How are you?” “Good day,” “Goodbye,” “Thank you,” and then you learn words like “bureau” and “idiosyncrasy” later on. Those come after the fact [SP]. You can still get better but they’re kind of finer-tuned and they’re used less frequently.
I realize that’s kind of a long answer but it’s a complicated question. But basically, if you can put in even two weeks, you’re going to see significant improvements. Anything more than that, you’re just going to compound the improvements. And the really key thing is that you track your results. And we’ll get to this later, but never take the SAT or the ACT just to see how you do. You can always figure it out pretty simply just by taking a diagnostic test. So…[/toggle]