Based on the initial responses to my call for unconventional SAT prep strategies, I have extracted a couple early insights. I still want to hear more stories. If you had good luck preparing for the SAT on your own, e-mail me a quick description of what you did.
Some Initial Observations About Self-Preparation for the SAT
- Doing well requires a (very) large volume of practice tests. Much more than most students assume when they consider test prep. Two dozen full sample tests is not uncommon. (As a side note, this reality is much more established among those preparing for the LSATs. I have a three college friends that studied together and all got into to Harvard Law. The defining feature of their strategy: an immense number of practice tests, spread out over an extended period).
- You must deconstruct every single question you get wrong. Different people have trouble with certain questions for different reasons. By performing a rigorous autopsy on your trouble spots, you develop, over time, an accurate understanding of your weaknesses. This allows custom solutions to fill in these gaps, leading, it seems, to much higher scores than if you follow only the generic strategies of a test prep firm (case in point: joe freakn’ bloggs).