Many students are not sure when to start preparing for SAT. The bad news: We don’t have one answer. Good news: You have the answer. Why should you read this piece then? Because we will help you come with a strategy to come up with an answer based on your own individual needs.
First and foremost, you need to think about your target colleges. Are you targeting Ivy League colleges? Then you should start early. Starting early always helps you to assimilate the concepts better, become comfortable with the exam format and understand your strengths and weaknesses. We would say six months is a good time to start preparing for the SAT. If you are fine with a decent college, a shorter preparation timeline should do you good.
Another important aspect is the time availability. Are you someone who has tons of free time? Or involved in tons of extra-curricular activities? Depending on the time you can remove every week/day, you need to come up with a preparation strategy. So, if you are someone who can take out only one hour per week, you need atleast 2 months to prepare decently enough for SAT. For those of you who can take out 5 hours per week, 3-4 weeks of focused preparation should be good enough.
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Bear in mind that these are generalised timelines meant for the average test taker. Depending on your own abilities, you may need to revise these timelines. If you are weak in a section like math, you may need to spend more time to get a hold on the mathematical concepts. Your practice schedule should factor in a couple of SAT practice tests as well.
Also, don’t start very early. You don’t want to be in a situation where you have forgotten what you studied and are not motivated enough for the SAT. We also don’t recommend just 2 weeks of preparation. You need more than that to familiarize yourself with the exam and be comfortable with a few question types. How long should you study for SAT then? About 2-6 months of good preparation should see you ace the SAT.