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SAT Preparation: How to Prepare for SAT Exam

Updated on 17 April, 2024

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

sat preparation

SAT exam is the holy grail for every high-schooler that dreams of studying abroad. It is one of the most popular and widely undertaken tests organized by the College Board. While it does not hold the power to make or break someone's career, having good SAT scores can take a student far, nonetheless.

But before you jump headfirst into SAT preparation, it would be best to gain complete information about the same.

Basic brief about SAT

Scholastic Assessment Test, also known as SAT, is an aptitude reasoning test. It allows young students to make their way to undergraduate universities in the USA and the rest of the world (UK, Australia, Canada, and others). 

Sitting for this test requires no specific eligibility criteria except that the student must have successfully graduated from school. Besides that, there is no age bar whatsoever. 

So, if you are keen to sit for SAT, you can register for the same through mail or an online portal. To do this, you would need to create an account on the College Board website for the online process. Additionally, you must ensure that you fill in all the requisite academic and personal information with utmost honesty. 

Moreover, for mail registration, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Your age is 12 or below
  • You can only make SAT fee payments through money order or cheque
  • You are seeking SAT test on Sunday due to a religious event
  • You are unable to upload your photograph during online registration
  • You are registering through a representative
  • You need to request a change of test center since it is over 120 km away from home
  • You are unable to find a way to make late registration request

Furthermore, as a prospective candidate, you must note that SAT is held across 53 educational institutes in over 30 cities across India. This means that you can easily book your test center depending on your comfort and availability.

Additionally, you must also note that this aptitude test features 154 multiple choice questions that you need to solve in three hours. It is divided into three sections, namely 'Reading,' 'Writing,' and 'Mathematics.' This sectional diversification is as follows:


Number of questions




80 minutes



35 minutes



65 minutes

Each of these sections has a range of 200-800 score points. The overall score may fall between the score of 400-1500.

Also, keep in mind that the exam is conducted in the English language.

You can also read: SAT-accepting colleges in Australia | SAT Reading TipsSAT Writing |

Preparing for the different SAT sections

Rigorous SAT preparation and long studying hours are essential if you want to pass with flying colors. So, to prepare well, you must know all three sections and their syllabus. 




Algebra, rational exponents, quadratic equations, radicals, other advanced math topics, problem-solving, data analysis, etc.


Ability to read, comprehend and edit passages related to Social Science, Humanities, Commerce, and other Science-based topics.


Passages relating to Economics, Social Science, Sociology, Psychology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science, etc. Additionally, an understanding of contemporary and classic work regarding the US and World literature, and passages based on US founding documents and global conversations.


Now you have a detailed insight into the syllabus. The next question arises- how to  prepare for SAT? Well, if you want to know how to prepare SAT exam at home, here are some tips for each section.

How to prepare for the SAT Math section?

Having a basic understanding of foundational math is crucial. So, to sharpen your mathematical skills, you must:

  1. Understand the basics first. Once you have mastered that, you will also find learning calculation tricks, shortcuts, and mental math easier.
  2. Memorize your formulas well as the better you retain them, the faster you will solve math riddles!
  3. Create diagrams and graphs for a better understanding of the trickly questions. They will help you solve with more ease and accuracy.
  4. Incorporate strategies like picking numbers and back solving. A lot of questions are solved just by picking the choices given and putting them in the provided problem or question.
  5. Be persistent with mock tests. Do a SWOT analysis and improve on the basis of your strengths and weaknesses. 
  6. Allot more time to difficult sections of mathematics. For instance, if you are weak with advanced mathematics then devoting an hour to the advanced maths problems will help you in the long run.  

How to prepare for the SAT writing section?

In this section, you have 48 seconds to answer each question. To answer swiftly and correctly you need to be good with your reading and comprehension skills. If you are good with grammar then this section will not pose a huge problem for you. You can do the following to upskill yourself, though:

  1. Do not skip lines and do not take shortcuts. Have an all-inclusive approach and read each word and line with maximum precision. 
  2. Do not let the pressure of time overpower you. Take time to re-read the passage at least once. The better you understand it, the easier your editing process will become. 
  3. Know your punctuation well! It's the most basic advice but also often overlooked. Also, if you know your commas and semi-colons well, it's a battle half-won!

Recommended Reads:

SAT EligibilitySyllabus for SATSAT Exam Centres
SAT Exam Dates 2022SAT Exam PatternSAT Scores & Results

SAT Registration

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How to prepare for the SAT reading section?

Reading is an art in itself, one that requires patience and precision. You can better your reading skills by implementing the following tips:

  1. Read as much as possible. Read on diverse and technical topics. Pick passages that pose varying difficulty levels.
  2. Practice skim reading as it will save you a lot of time and you will be able to answer more number of questions in less time.
  3. Read to get to the correct answer. Yes, you read it right. You do not need to read each and every word of the passage and understand the meaning of those words. Instead, try to get the theme of the passage and arrive at the correct answer.
  4. Skip the questions that you find hard. You don’t need to answer every question.
  5. Never answer the question based on your opinion and assumptions if the question is indirect. Look for words like infer, suggest, or imply in the text, most of the time the answers are not given directly in the passage.
  6. It's not necessary to chronologically pick the questions you need to answer. Instead, prioritize it according to the level of precision they require.

Helpful books and study material/websites/study guides

Undertaking a test like SAT is no easy feat, but it can become more accessible and achievable with the right resources and tools. 

So, if you are wondering how to prepare for SAT in India, here's all the study material you would need for your SAT exam preparation:

  • SAT Prep Black Book, Second Edition– to understand the format, structure, and hidden tricks of succeeding SAT
  • Barron’s SAT, 29th edition– a comprehensive book of all relevant SAT-related topics along with practice tests
  • 500 New SAT Math Problems by Dr. Steve Warner– easy-to-understand, clear and comprehensive content related to math concepts
  • The Princeton Review– offers both tutor-led and self-paced courses related to all SAT topics

SAT Preparation tips

Although you now have specific tips for each SAT section, here are some overall SAT tips for your best attempt:

  • Start with easy questions and then increase the difficulty level
  • Do as many SAT mock tests as possible
  • When you are not sure of the answer, start eliminating wrong answers first
  • Do not spend too much time on the questions you are unsure of
  • Hone your grammar basics
  • Highlight parts of the passage as you read along
  • Memorise tricky formulas and facts and keep repeating them like a mantra
  • Attempt every question because there is no negative marking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is SAT exam tough?

It is difficult to state the fact that SAT exam is tough as it solely depends on the preparation of an individual. The SAT exam is balanced as it comprises question ranging from easy to difficult level. With perseverance, hard work and opting a planned strategy one can easily score well in the SAT exam.

How to score well in the maths section of SAT exam?

If you want to score well in the maths section then you need to be good with maths formulas and theorems. Apart from this, you need to be able to pick the options and try to solve the problems in a fraction of seconds. The more you practise for this section the better it becomes.

How to manage time in SAT exam?

The only way to manage time in SAT exam is to analyse your mock tests. You need to identify the sections that consumed most of your time and write it down on a notebook. Work on these areas and try to bring down the time limit with each mock test. Eventually, you will be in a position to solve every question in a fraction of seconds with accuracy.

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Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

Mrinal Mandal is a study abroad expert with a passion for guiding students towards their international education goals. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering, earned in 2018. Since 2021, Mrinal has been working with upGrad Abroad, where he assists aspiring students in realizing their dreams of studying abroad. With his expertise and dedication, he empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of international education, making their aspirations a reality.

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The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.