1. Get an early start.
"I'm a slow learner, so I wanted to give myself plenty of time to study to help relieve pressure. I started studying for the SAT six months before I took my test. I would study for an hour during the week and 30 minutes during the weekend. The month before the test, I reduced it to 30 minutes a day. I know people who started studying three months before too. Just know how you study and plan accordingly."
2. Be realistic about the score you want.
"I'd never get a perfect score, and a lot of the colleges I wanted to apply to didn't need a perfect score. Don't put more pressure on yourself than is necessary. Be realistic about the score you need, and then do everything you can to achieve it."
3. There is no "quick trick" for scoring high on the SAT.
"Like everything in life, you gotta put in the work to see the results. There's no hack or quick trick. Do the work; see the results."
4. Don't compare yourself to others.
"Some people are great at math, some people can take tests in their sleep, and some people have a full-blown anxiety attack in test situations (me!). Everybody is different. Try not to compare yourself to others' progress. You're the one taking the test. Know where you do and do not excel and work on those areas."
5. Talk to your friends.
"We're all in this together, and you don't have to do it alone! I found that talking about studying and difficult questions with friends was a huge help. Talking through concepts I didn't understand helped me grasp them far better than reading and rereading over and over again."
6. Make practice tests seem like the real deal.
"I buckle under the pressure of tests, so to help get over that, I tried to simulate the SAT experience as much as I could with my practice tests. I talked to my teacher, and she let me use her classroom to take the practice test one weekend. I woke up at 7:30 a.m. like I would for the SAT and drove to school and sat in a classroom to take the test. This helped so much with getting over the nerves and feeling of test-taking in a stressful environment."
7. Eliminate the wrong answer first.
"Don't immediately go for what you think is right. Instead, eliminate wrong answers one by one. This takes a bit more time, but it helped me feel far more confident in my final answer."
8. Ask questions in class.
"This sounds super obvious, but pay attention and ask your teacher questions in class. Everything the test covers should be something you've covered in class. If there is something you don't understand from your practice tests, don't be shy to ask your teacher for help."
9. Take deep breaths.
"Yes. Wow. Revolutionary! I know. But seriously, remember to take deep breaths. I kept thinking how life or death passing the SAT was, and it would completely derail my study sessions and mess up my sleep. When you start to panic, just stop and take 10 deep breaths. If that doesn't work, take a 10-minute walk. If that doesn't work, take a 10-minute run. If that doesn't work, pet a dog. Just don't let the stress build. That will kill your test score."