Preparing for a big exam can be both time-consuming and stressful. But, if you prepare for it the smart way, it doesn’t have to be the case.

For more than 2 million high school students, their next big – if not the biggest – exam is the SATs.

With the significant increase in applicants, the competition for spots in top-ranked colleges is cutthroat.

For example, according to their latest admissions cycle, most of Harvard’s applicants had perfect math and verbal scores in their SATs.

So if you want to gain an edge on your next big exam, make sure to follow these tips:


Start Early


One major mistake students make when preparing for exams is starting the preparations last minute.

But what they don’t know is, there’s no faster way to fail than late preparations – especially if your next big exam is the SATs.

So while it’s possible to study by yourself, take your sweet time, and ace your SAT exam, it’s recommended to take SAT prep courses to get higher scores.

However, getting into the best SAT prep school is also a competition in its own right.

Top SAT tutors who successfully help prepare students for the exam, get fully-booked really quickly. So if you want to learn from the best, better get a move on as early as possible.

To help you quickly decide on which SAT course to go to, consider the following factors:


  • Size of the Class.
    • Group classes are more budget-friendly, however, the large number of students can be distracting.
    • One-on-one classes are more expensive, but the curriculum can be personalized to your pace and needs.
  • Quality of Courses
    • Some courses prioritize rote learning, while others prefer meaningful learning, and quality SAT prep courses should offer the best study materials and tools available to maximize your learning style.
  • Quality of Tutors
    • Since your success in entering the college of your choice depends on it – not to mention, it costs a lot of money – make sure to check your tutor’s credentials.
  • Read Reviews
    • These can tell you key things, such as whether students were able to score their SAT result goals, the quality of tutors, and the general quality of the program itself.
  • Money-back Guarantee
    • A quick way to whittle down your choices is to check prep courses that offer a money-back guarantee if you don’t reach your target test score.


Go to Study Groups

Joining a study group can make for dynamic learning sessions to prepare for your next big exam.

For instance, your study group member can teach or explain areas you don’t understand and vice versa.

Preparing for an exam can be physically and mentally exhausting. And when you’re feeling worn out, members of your group serve as a big source of motivation to keep going.


Give Room For Breaks

As much as you want to ace those exams, it is necessary to find a balance, so you don’t overstress yourself.

Schedule your breaks according to what works for you, and don’t forget to eat well and stay hydrated.


Avoid Distractions.

It might not be possible to eliminate distractions, however, try avoiding them as much as possible.

Refrain from using too much social media or always being on the phone. Cut down social visits, movies, and other activities that can distract you when studying.


Practice Past Questions

Research shows that practising past questions can be an effective way of studying for exams. It can aid in familiarizing yourself with the exam format and the types of questions you should be expecting.

It is also an effective way of learning time management. That way, you will be able to keep time when you finally sit for your big exams.

Prepare for Exam Day: Get everything you will need a few days to the exam and arrange them in your bag on the night before the exam.

Make sure you meet all exam requirements and also plan on the best way to get to your exam venue.

Good sleep is essential, so make sure you get one on the night before the exam. Don’t forget to set your alarm; you won’t want to wake up late either.



Different factors can determine how successful your exam will be, and some of these factors are beyond your control.

However, one significant factor that you can control is how well prepared you can be.

With the tips above, you can adequately plan for any type of exam, but remember to always choose what works best for you based on your learning style, areas of improvement and the amount of time you have to prepare.



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