Familiarity Breeds Comfort by Jennifer Karan

1 Dec

Today many high school students around the country and more overseas, took their SATs. Last month, super storm Sandy forced many testing centers to close and those affected had to postpone taking the exam. The storm created additional stress on top of what was already a stressful experience.

Ms. Jennifer Karan, executive director of the SAT Program at the College Board, is the guest blogger for this post in which she offers some advice on how to prepare for the SAT.

Every so often I find myself speaking to some high school students who, upon finding out that my work involves the SAT, look at me in awe. (At least, I like to think it’s awe). 

And then they take a big step backwards.

Unfortunately, to them the SAT represents some huge and inscrutable test that they fear, some Goliath that they are going to have to conquer in high school for which nothing can ready them.

Relax, I tell them, the SAT is nothing to be feared; and when the time comes, you will successfully conquer it. In fact, there are things you are probably doing right now that are preparing you that you don’t even realize. 

The best preparation for the SAT, I counsel, is to do well in school. First, make sure you are on the path to completing a core curriculum; then, make sure those courses are truly challenging – don’t take the easy way out. Study hard and read as much as possible.

There are little things that students can do early on. Create an account on the College Board website which has a bunch of free planning and preparation resources. One of my favorite tools is the SAT Question of the Day, or QOTD for those in the know. It’s an actual question from a past SAT and it’s a great way to become familiar with the exam content as well as get your brain up and running in the morning. 

I receive the SAT QOTD each morning in my inbox. If you don’t want to register for the email, you can visit the site each day and “play”. 

Publilius Syrus, a Latin writer, once wrote, “Practice is the best of all instructors.” The Question of the Day is a great way for underclassmen to engage with the SAT in a fun and less intimidating manner, and for those who are practicing more seriously. With practice and familiarity the SAT won’t seem intimidating at all. 

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