A group of confident students holding textbooks
Test Taking

Boost Your SAT Score by 200 Points: Ace the Test with Jake's Expert Strategies (2023-2024)

May 29, 2024

In this comprehensive guide, you'll learn everything you need to know about mastering the SAT. You'll be walked through what the SAT is, its history, who takes it, and when to take it. You'll also explore the logistics of signing up, test fees, and what to expect on testing day. Most importantly, you'll receive practical strategies for effective SAT test preparation. So let's dive in and prepare you for success!

What Is the SAT?

You will take the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), a standardized college admissions exam widely used by colleges and universities in the United States and around the world. It will measure your readiness for higher education and serve as a common data point for colleges to compare applicants. The test has four main sections: Reading, Writing and Language, Math (with and without a calculator), and the optional Essay.

History of the SAT

The SAT has evolved over the years to better align with the skills required for success in college. Originally designed to assess innate intelligence, the SAT now emphasizes critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical abilities. These changes make it a fairer representation of your academic readiness for college. Additionally, in response to the changing landscape of education, the SAT has adapted to new formats, including virtual testing options for all students to be available by spring 2024, to provide greater accessibility and convenience for test-takers.

Who takes the SAT? SAT statistics

Every year, millions of high school students, typically in their junior or senior year, take the SAT. It is an essential component of your college applications, along with other factors like your GPA, extracurricular activities, and recommendation letters. The SAT is taken by students worldwide, including those pursuing higher education in the United States and international applicants.

When do you take the SAT?

The ideal time for you to take the SAT depends on your college application timeline and preparedness. Many students opt to take it in their junior year, usually during the spring or early summer. This allows you room for retakes if needed and provides a head start in the college application process. Alternatively, you may prefer taking the SAT in the fall of your senior year to dedicate the summer months to focused test preparation.

SAT logistics: signing up

To register for the SAT, you need to visit the official College Board website. You will need to create an account, provide your personal information, and choose your preferred test date and location. It's important to register early to secure your preferred test center because popular locations fill up quickly.

SAT test fees

When registering for the SAT, you will need to pay a registration fee that covers the cost of taking the test and sending score reports to colleges. However, you may incur additional fees if you register late, change your test date, or send scores to more than four colleges. If you are eligible, you can request fee waivers to take the SAT at no cost.

What happens on testing day?

On the day of the SAT, you should arrive at the test center on time with acceptable identification and your admission ticket. Once checked in, you'll be assigned a seat and provided with test materials. During breaks, you can step outside the testing room, have a snack, and take deep breaths to relax. Use these moments to refresh your mind before continuing. Remember to double-check your test-day essentials, including your admission ticket, acceptable identification, approved calculators (if applicable), and snacks. Time management is crucial during the SAT, so be sure to time yourself and practice under test-day conditions. Finally, prioritize self-care by getting enough rest, eating well, and staying hydrated to be at your best on test day.


During breaks, you can stretch your legs to get your blood flowing and your muscles relaxed. You can also indulge in some healthy snacks, like fresh fruits or nuts, to give your brain a boost of energy and keep your blood sugar levels stable. Another great way to recharge is to practice some deep breathing exercises, which help calm your nerves and reduce stress. Take advantage of these moments to clear your mind, reflect on your progress so far, and mentally prepare yourself for the next round of testing. During the SAT exam breaks, talking is generally discouraged and often not allowed. The breaks are intended to give students time to rest, recharge, and prepare mentally for the next section of the exam. Keeping the environment quiet and focused helps ensure fairness and consistency for all test-takers. It is important to note the SAT exam format includes a 10-minute break after the reading section and a 5-minute break after the math (no calculator) section. After the math (calculator) section, there is an additional 10-minute break. Finally, after the optional Essay section, there is a 2-minute break.

Important note on devices

During the test and breaks, it is important to maintain a strict focus on the test and avoid any distractions. To this end, electronic devices, such as cell phones, are prohibited and must be kept off and out of sight. This includes not only during the test itself, but also during any breaks. It is important to take this policy seriously, as any issues or distractions caused by electronic devices can have negative consequences for both you and other test takers. Therefore, it is recommended that you leave your electronic devices at home or in a secure location during the test to ensure that you can perform to the best of your abilities.

SAT test prep: getting ready

Effective SAT test preparation is crucial for achieving your target score. Follow these practical strategies:

  • Identify a target score: Set a realistic target score based on the requirements of your preferred colleges. Research the average SAT scores of admitted students to determine your goal.
  • Develop a consistent study schedule: Create a study plan with dedicated time each week for SAT preparation. Consistency is key to retaining knowledge effectively.
  • Focus on areas for improvement: Take a practice SAT test to identify strengths and weaknesses. Concentrate on areas that need improvement, such as specific math concepts or critical reading strategies.
  • Ensure you finish all courses related to SAT content: Review relevant coursework to strengthen your foundation in math, reading, writing, and grammar.
  • Practice, practice, and more practice: Regularly take full-length practice tests to familiarize yourself with the format and question types. Practicing under timed conditions will improve pacing and accuracy.
  • Ensure you have everything you need: Double-check your test-day essentials, including your admission ticket, acceptable identification, approved calculators (if applicable), and snacks.
  • Time yourself and practice under test day conditions: To simulate the test-day experience, practice under timed conditions. Time management is crucial during the SAT.
  • Take care of yourself in the days before: Prioritize self-care by getting enough rest, eating well, and staying hydrated to be at your best on test day.

What's on the SAT?

The SAT consists of three main sections: Reading, Writing and Language, and Math. Let's explore each section in more detail:

A student reading book while sitting on stacked books, surrounded by more books
It is important to have a deep understanding of the text in order to achieve in the reading section

SAT reading test

The Reading section assesses your ability to comprehend and analyze various types of passages. You'll encounter questions that focus on:

  • How the author uses evidence: Analyze how the author supports their arguments or claims with evidence and examples from the passage.
  • Understanding words in context: Determine the meaning of words or phrases based on their context within the passage.
  • Analysis in history or social studies and science: Interpret graphs, charts, and data related to history, social studies, or science topics.

SAT writing and language test

The Writing and Language section assesses your ability to improve passages' clarity, coherence, and effectiveness. Questions in this section focus on grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and writing style. You'll be asked to identify errors and select the best revision options for underlined portions in the passages.

SAT math test

The Math section evaluates your understanding of essential mathematical concepts and problem-solving skills. The section is divided into two parts: the Calculator Portion and the No-Calculator Portion.

  • Calculator portion: In this part, you'll be allowed to use a calculator to solve math problems. Questions cover topics like arithmetic, algebra, and data analysis.
  • No-calculator portion: In this part, you'll need to solve math problems without a calculator. Questions focus on algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and other advanced math topics.

The topics in the Math section include Heart of Algebra, Passport to Advanced Math, and Additional Topics in Math.


1. What is the best book for SAT preparation 2024?

The best book for SAT preparation can vary depending on individual learning styles and needs. However, some highly recommended SAT prep books for 2024 include:

  • The Official SAT Study Guide (2024 Edition): Published by the College Board, the makers of the SAT, this book contains real SAT questions from previous tests, making it an essential resource for practice.
  • The Princeton Review SAT Premium Prep 2024: This comprehensive book offers detailed content review, practice tests, and online resources to help students prepare effectively.
  • Barron's SAT (2024 Edition): Known for its rigorous practice questions and in-depth explanations, Barron's SAT book is a valuable tool for boosting your score.
  • Kaplan SAT Prep Plus 2024: This book includes practice tests, video lessons, and personalized study plans, making it suitable for self-paced learning.
  • McGraw Hill Education SAT (2024 Edition): With targeted practice sets and skill-building exercises, this book helps students strengthen their weaknesses.

Remember, the best book for SAT preparation ultimately depends on your specific strengths and weaknesses, so consider trying out a few resources to find the one that suits you best.

2. What is the best time to take SAT?

The best time to take the SAT can vary based on your academic preparedness and college application timeline. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Junior year (11th grade): Many students take the SAT during their junior year, typically in the spring or early summer. This allows time for retakes if necessary and provides a head start in the college application process.
  • Early fall of senior year (12th grade): If you want to focus on improving your score during the summer before senior year, you can take the SAT again in the early fall of your senior year.
  • SAT subject tests: If you plan to take SAT Subject Tests, consider taking them in May or June of your junior year or in the fall of your senior year.
  • College application deadlines: Check the application deadlines of the colleges you're interested in to ensure you take the SAT early enough to meet their requirements.

Ultimately, the best time to take the SAT is when you feel adequately prepared and have had sufficient time to study and practice.

3. How long should you study for the SAT?

The ideal study duration for the SAT varies based on your current skill level, target score, and availability to study. However, a common recommendation is to dedicate about 2-3 months of focused preparation. Here's a suggested study plan:

  • Assessment: Start by taking a practice SAT test to identify your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Study schedule: Create a study schedule that allows you to dedicate regular time each week for SAT preparation.
  • Content review: Review the test content, including math, reading, writing, and grammar concepts. Use prep books or online resources for in-depth study.
  • Practice tests: Take full-length practice tests regularly to track your progress and simulate the actual test environment.
  • Focus on weak areas: Target your weaker areas with additional practice and study.
  • Time management: Practice answering questions within the allotted time to improve your pacing during the test.
  • Test-taking strategies: Familiarize yourself with SAT-specific test-taking strategies to approach questions efficiently.

Remember that consistent and focused preparation, combined with practice, is key to achieving your target SAT score.


Now that you have a comprehensive understanding of the SAT and valuable strategies for test preparation, take the next step by signing up for Aha. Aha is a learning website that offers quality sample questions and uses AI to analyze your weak points. With personalized study plans, Aha will help you target areas for improvement and boost your SAT performance. Embrace this opportunity and embark on your journey to SAT success!

Relevant links

Download or Export icon
Download or Export icon
Download or Export icon
Download or Export icon
Download or Export icon
Download or Export icon
Download or Export icon
Download or Export icon

Related Blogs