When is it too early to prepare for the S.A.T.? Never.
It’s never too early to prepare for the S.A.T. Any preparation is better than no preparation with one significant caveat: do not create more stress.
Stress is the absolute enemy of successful S.A.T. test-taking. Stress punishes those that take just about any standardized test.
Sure, there is a small segment of the population that strives on stress. If you are one of those people then kudos to you.
For the rest of us, stress creates major mental blockages that results in poor test performance. I’ve seen it too often to not believe in its devastating effects.
The best way to avoid stress is to prepare in advance. The more time you have to prepare, the better you will perform. Only you know how much time you need. Some students can prepare in a week, others may need a year and yet others may need several years.
The bottom line is that it is never too early. Get going on a study guide, check out www.collegeboard.com to register for the question of the day, or invest in another study tool like vocabulary flash cards or something similar.
I usually recommend at least six months of preparation. Take two or three months to prepare and take a practice test (or sit for a real test, but call it practice just to get yourself a benchmark score). After the practice test, take another two to three months to hone your skills and then take the test for real. If you’re still not achieving your desired score, try again one more time but keep in mind that after the third time your score will not move very much. All things being equal, you will see the biggest increase from the first to the second time you take the test. After that, only small improvements are most common.
So it’s never too early to start preparing. Just don’t cram the night before. Cramming creates stress and stress will punish you.
If you want the best score possible, start early and often. Start with ten minutes a day, then increase to 30 minutes a day and soon you’ll be primed for the 4 hour marathon that is the S.A.T.