Build Your Study Plan

So you've got an SAT or PSAT-related assessment coming up, and it's time to start studying. What do you do now? We recommend creating a study plan to keep you on track. This page will give you the tools to create one of your own.

Set Your Goals

If you're just getting started:

The most important thing you can do is understand your own strengths and challenge areas. Knowing this information will help you identify the areas where you could use the most skill review. There are a few ways to check your knowledge:

  • Bluebook™ practice test:This is the best and most accurate way to ensure you're measuring your knowledge of the skills on the actual test. It's also a valuable introduction to the Bluebook testing app, which you'll use both for practice tests and on test day. Plus, when you practice in Bluebook, your practice scores will be available in My Practice, where you'll find helpful information about your performance on different content areas so you can target your practice more effectively.
  • Khan Academy® diagnostic: For a skill check outside of Bluebook, take Khan Academy's SAT Course Challenge for both the Reading and Writing Test and the Math Test. These challenges will give you a snapshot of your performance on different content areas, which you can use to decide what you want to study.
  • In-school test review: You may know the areas where you need to study just from the tests you've already taken in school. Review your old tests from your math classes and your English or language arts classes and see if you notice any skill gaps you can boost. If you're feeling stuck, check out our page with more information about what different questions look like on the test to help you identify the skills you need to work on. This method will help you start studying right away so you can be more prepared when you take the diagnostic or practice test.

If you've already taken a practice test or an assessment in the SAT Suite:

You're off to a great start! Your results from a previous practice test or assessment are the most helpful tool to create your study plan. Keep your practice scores in My Practice or your official score report from your assessment handy, and check out these study activities to put your results to use:

  • Skill Booster
  • Question Bank Review
  • Khan Academy Review

Once you feel like you've boosted your challenge areas, take another practice test and see how you've improved. We recommend spacing your practice tests out by at least two weeks if your study schedule allows.

Choose Your Study Activities

When you're creating a study plan, it's important to consider how much time you can spend studying each day. These activities will help you build a plan that works for you. This list isn't meant to set a particular order for your practice, so feel free to pick and choose the activities that fit your schedule.

Quick Study Activities (15 minutes or less)

Get to Know Bluebook: Did you know that research shows your brain is more likely to remember information when you're in a familiar environment? While you may not be able to study in your actual testing room, familiarizing yourself with our Bluebook digital testing app is the next best thing. Use Bluebook's Test Preview feature to get acquainted with all its helpful tools, including a highlighter, an option eliminator, a line reader, an annotation tool, and a flag to mark questions for review that you want to come back to at the end of the test.

Question Bank Review: This activity is customizable to the specific skills you want to review and the amount of questions you want to answer. In the Student Question Bank, you can target your practice based on the test (Reading and Writing or Math), domain, skill, and difficulty level to create a custom quiz. Once you've set the filters to match your study targets, check the boxes for a few random questions, then click Export. When you click Export, select No correct answers or explanations first. That way, you can review your custom quiz without any spoilers. The Question Bank will remember your selections as long as your keep the page open. Once you've had a chance to answer the questions, click Export again and choose With correct answers and explanations to check your results.

Moderate Study Activities (15 minutes to an hour)

Khan Academy Review: By taking time to study key skills, you can build your knowledge and better prepare yourself to see an improvement in your score when you try a practice test. Official Digital SAT Prep on Khan Academy is a great way to review the skills you need to succeed on the SAT Suite of Assessments. Their courses have short lessons, videos, and example problems that are the right length for a moderate study session.

Skill Booster: You can complete this activity with your old tests or practice tests in the SAT Suite of Assessments, or use tests and quizzes you've taken throughout the school year. Instead of just checking the correct answers, go back and try to determine why you missed a particular question. Did you misread the question or not understand what it was asking? Were you confused by an answer choice that wasn't quite right? Could you use a review of the skills related to that question? You may want to take notes on your findings so you can spot patterns and review any related skills later. Learning from your mistakes will help you build your test-taking skills as well as your learning and studying strategies.

Create an Explanation: When you can explain a concept in a way that makes sense to you, you're more likely to recall it later. Put this memory trick to use by rewriting answer explanations from any of our practice resources in your own words. Make connections to things you enjoy or people in your life. For instance, maybe it's easier to understand a problem using the distance formula if you imagine traveling to another city to see your favorite artist in concert, or it's easier to remember the rules about serial commas and semicolons if you make a list of the players on your favorite sports team and their positions. Get creative!

Extended Study Activity (More than an hour)

Full-length Practice Test in Bluebook: If you're looking for an experience that's as close to test day as possible, try a full-length practice test in Bluebook. To access the practice tests, go to Practice and Prepare on the Bluebook homepage and select Full-Length Practice. Taking a full-length practice test builds your endurance and comfort level with the test itself. It also gives you a chance to practice the skills and question types you're likely to see on the real test. We recommend taking a practice test at least two weeks before test day (if possible) so you can use the remaining time to sharpen your skills. Once you've had a chance to review your score in My Practice, the other study activities listed here can help you focus on any challenge areas. If you're ahead of the game with more than a month to go until test day, you can even space your practice tests out to track your progress over time.
Tip: If you don't have time to take a full-length test in Bluebook in one sitting, you can pause the practice test and come back to it on another day. Unfinished practice tests are stored in Bluebook for up to 90 days.

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