How to Survive: the SAT

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Rachel Seo, Features Editor

The Wrangler’s new How to Survive weekly series will provide a steady stream of helpful (and sometimes sarcastic) information that will get an average adolescent human being into the constant swing of life…just don’t jump off into the wood chips at the wrong time.

The SAT. Just that one acronym strikes fear into the hearts of high school students across the nation.

The SAT.

The SAT.

The SAT.

But never fear! From studying for it to walking out of the classroom with confidence in your step, this article covers it all.



Your parents might tell you of the “good ol’ days,” when they signed up for the test, showed up, and took it. They might sigh and say how high school culture has changed so much since they were teenagers.

Well, your parents are right: high school culture has changed, and it’s best to change your study methods along with it. In order to obtain the score you want, you will most likely have to study for it. Don’t know how, exactly, to study for the SAT? There are several “SAT Boot Camp” programs that are designed to coach you through the SAT (Princeton Review and Elite are two of the most popular). They’re expensive, but if you’re going to need discipline in order to study, they’re the best option.

However, if you don’t want to pay for boot camp, buy practice SAT books. The College Board and several other independent “experts” have all released books about the SAT.

As someone who has already been through both boot camp and the SAT, I can testify to the fact that it doesn’t matter where you practice, just how many times you practice SAT problems. I’ve taken probably fifty SATs over the past two years. I’ve evaluated my tests and my weak points. I’ve done hundreds of practice problems. If you want to think about it metaphorically, the SAT is a door, and repetition is the key to unlocking it.



Both the old and the new SAT are three to four hours long. It’s quite a long time to be sitting in one spot for so long, mentally exercising your brain.

Too many times, people mess up their scores by giving up in the last two sections, either because they’re tired or they feel like they’ve done so badly that nothing could ever redeem their score.


The SAT, regardless of whether you take it seriously or not, is a large part of your college application. Colleges will actually see your SAT score and judge you based upon it. It’s not something on which you give up easily.

Even if you feel like it’s unbearable to sit and think for so long, remind yourself that Future You will thank you if you get a decent score. Stamina is one of the biggest keys to conquering the SAT, and as long as you persevere, you will reap the benefits.

That’s why it’s always good to practice taking full-length SATs–you not only get the practice and repetition, but you also get a chance to test and stretch your mind’s limits.



Although the SAT isn’t all fun and games, you can make it into something a little more tolerable by rewarding yourself. Get the score that you wanted? Take yourself out to dinner! Grab Starbucks! Go to a movie! Even after you finish the SAT and don’t know what score you got, walk out there and own it–you finished it without breaking down into tears, and you tried your best. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.



There is a wealth of experience to be gained from your fellow classmates. Even if you haven’t taken the test, there is a 100% chance that someone else from YLHS has. Ask them questions. What was the atmosphere like? Cold? Hot? Nerve-racking? Noisy? Quiet? Make sure you know what the conditions will be like and, if possible, simulate them when you take your practice SATs.

Erika Paul (12), when asked what advice she’d give to people taking the SAT, said to “use the Princeton Review book, get a good night’s sleep before, eat a good breakfast the day of, and dress comfy.”



And, after all, it’s just one test. Most likely in twenty years you won’t even remember your score. You’ll just sit down with all your old high school friends and talk about your kids and laugh about how they have to do a hundred-section, two-day-long test…

Oh, how times have changed–and how they will change in the future.