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How to Excel on a Spanish Test

By Jon, published on 20/02/2018 Blog > Languages > Spanish > SAT Spanish: How to Do Well

Doing a SAT test requires a lot of prep work. With college admissions at forefront of their thinking, students often graft over essay topics and practice tests. But when it comes to SAT practice and test prep, a lot of students find themselves completely lost.

When it comes to a language, such as Spanish, this can sometimes be even more true because of the lack of a concrete curriculum for foreign language exams.

Yes, the exam board can say what pieces of grammar are likely to be tested, and obviously multiple choice questions can help to a certain extent, but preparation is made hard by the almost unknown range of vocabulary that could appear in the articles that are used.

This makes revising for a Spanish exam hard, but not impossible. If you are feeling rather lost with how to tackle your SAT prep for the Spanish exam, then this article is for you.

We will look at how to prepare effectively for the SAT Spanish test, but please note that a lot of the advice in this article is applicable to other Spanish exams as well.

Remember the most important quote for this experience: “A healthy mind means a healthy body.

How to Learn Spanish?: Attend Spanish Classes

Make sure you use your class time effectively Attending class is the most important element of studying for a SAT Subject Test.

When it comes to test taking, it pays to be well prepared. With the SATs, you should be starting from the beginning of senior year (and it should already be thought about during other years). The first thing that you should do, is go to your Spanish lessons.

But beware, we do not go empty-handed: think about taking your stuff with you every single time. Notebook, Spanish textbook, pens, agenda…

The trick is to prepare your bag the night before to be sure not to forget anything if you’re the type who’s usually running late in the morning.

Second thing: stay concentrated. You might not have seen your friends all week, and perhaps you have a lot to catch up on, but do it at the lunch break. When you’re in class, make it a point to really listen.

Take math for example. If you drift off and miss a crucial aspect of algebra or geometry, the rest of what follows won’t make much sense. The same can be said of learning Spanish. Advancing your language proficiency relies on building on previous steps. If you don’t have these steps, you won’t be able to advance.

Going back to why you should stay concentrated at all times during your Spanish instruction, the memorization process begins by listening. This is called auditory memory. A student retains 20% of what he or she hears. You might say 20% is not a lot but on the contrary! It means already 20% less work at home.

“It should be noted that in general, a student retains:
10% of what he or she reads
20% of what he or she hears,
30% of what he or she sees,
50% of what he or she sees and hears,
70% of what he or she says,
90% of what he or she does. “

Finally, the last important element to mention is that you should always participate when you are in class. Teachers do not encourage students to participate to make them feel uncomfortable. The numbers do not lie: we retain 70% of what we say and 90% of what we do. Ask questions, listen to teachers’ explanations, take notes, and do not hesitate to ask if you do not understand.

How to Revise for Spanish: Study, Study, Study

You should leave Spanish class feeling good. You listened, you participated, but you’re not finished yet. Once you’re back home, make sure to re-read your class the same evening in order to remember the lesson of the day.

Make logical and ordered study notes to help you revise Make sure you write down what seems important to you about what you learned in Spanish class.

Take advantage of the school holidays to re-read your lessons and revise them a few days before school starts up again in order to get you back into the swing of things.

Flashcards are the perfect way to review your Spanish vocabulary efficiently. The purpose of the flashcards is to reduce the course down to the essentials.

To make a flashcard, you must:

  • Re-read your class notes,
  • Highlight what’s important,
  • Write on to the card or make a diagram, sketch, or table…
  • Reread the card when you need it.

The process of writing the form is already Spanish speaking revision in itself.

Finally, having a study schedule can be very useful. Especially because you don’t only have Spanish to study for but also a plethora of other subjects such as history, geography, mathematics, or science. It is therefore essential to come up with a schedule. Write it down somewhere to make sure you do not forget anything and are able to manage your time before the dreaded test.

Be Curious is One of the Best Ways to Learn Spanish

Surround yourself with Spanish The world is yours! But first, you must study.

To feel good during the Spanish SAT Subject Test and to get those scores you are looking for, it is essential to take your learning further than a Spanish course.

What do you have? Two or three hours a week of Spanish? That’s not how you will become bilingual or even comfortable speaking and writing.

You must ask questions, be curious, deepen your knowledge and want to learn more. You might have read and enjoyed Federico Garcia Lorca, for example. Run–don’t walk–to buy one of his collections of poems today.

If you act in this way, you will learn more vocabulary and broaden your general knowledge of the Spanish language so that you can easily speak Spanish about different topics.

Finally, a method is important. Make sure you work on your class exercises. For each topic, review the exercises and redo them until you succeed. Your Spanish teacher can only do so much, and the rest is up to you.

By furthering your Spanish tuition on your own, you will be better placed come the day of the test. A college application is a stressful task, constantly worrying about how the college board will view it, and whether you have included all of the relevant information to impress them in order for them to grant you admission.

By preparing well for your Spanish test, you can remove some of the stress about scoring highly on your SATs because you will already be well prepared to take them.

Learn Spanish for Beginners and Beyond: Pick a Good Place to Study

Studying in the same place helps you build a routine It’s always better to study in a quiet place!

How can you revise for the Spanish SAT Subject Test with noise around? It’s simply not possible ! Choose a quiet place, somewhere bright and without distractions. No decent work can be done with a constantly vibrating mobile phone–whether it’s Snapchat, Facebook or Instagram. All those applications are far too tempting, so put your phone on air plane mode; it’s safer that way.

Plan to avoid having to move and getting distracted.

A bottle of water is a must if you are planning to study long hours!

Revise Spanish by Using Mock Exams

Knowing what to expect from the Spanish SAT test is essential. This is the same can be said for all standardized tests. You will need to know the format, as well as practice in order to work out how you handle the exam with the time limit given.

To revise for the Spanish SAT Subject test, there’s nothing better than looking at a mock exam. You will find similar questions and get to review the important notions that come up most often. You will also have a summary of the subject.

Because you will be doing it in a serious manner–that is to say without cheating–you be able to take the test serenely knowing the standard questions and the answers to provide.

If you do get stuck here, then consider tutoring as a way of progressing. Doing a practice test or some practice questions is all well and good, but you need to understand why the answers you got wrong, are wrong.

By revising with a Spanish tutor, you don’t need to worry about this as your Spanish teacher is there to help you understand the bits that don’t quite make sense when you look at them on your own.

Pauses Are Essential in Order to Learn Spanish

Use your time wisely and effectively Don’t forget to plan for some breaks! They help with concentration.

Timing is always about being as efficient as possible. This is obviously important when doing a standardized test, but time management during your preparation is also important.

Setting goals is a useful exercise (between 3 and 5 is good). There is a technique called the “pomodoro technique“, which is based on 25 minutes of work with a 5-minute break. That’s a little short. But you can draw inspiration and do 1 hour of work with a 10-minute break, or even 1h45 with a 15-minute break.

During these 15-minute breaks, it is important to stay in study mode. Don’t check notifications. The goal is to succeed on your SAT Subject Tests, so stay focused. Take advantage of these 15 minutes to go out, walk a little, or go to the toilet.

The trick is to put an alert on your phone to force yourself to return to work after 15 minutes. Come on, you can do this! Just think of the great SAT scores that you’ll get at the end.

Don’t Stress About the SAT Spanish Test

On the day of your Spanish test, you may be a little stressed. If this is the case, do not panic, here are some tips:

A healthy mind is the key to a healthy body Staying zen is essential in all test related scenarios

  • Take a step back and put things into perspective: tell yourself that everything is going to be OK whatever happens,
  • Breathe in order to avoid an anxiety attack: a deep breath is key for relaxation,
  • Trust yourself: you have gone through an entire language course, you know each chapter by heart, you did a Spanish summer camp–there is a good chance that you will pass the SAT Subject Exam,
  • Use all of the time you have: Do not hesitate to use all the time you have for proofreading in particular.

How to Learn Spanish Fast: Be Kind to Your Body!

Don't undervalue the importance of sleep when studying Your body needs at least 8 hours of sleep in order to recuperate from the stress of an upcoming exam! Never forget this.

During the study period, and during the test, it’s important that your lifestyle is up to par so that you have better chances of passing your SAT Subject Test in Spanish:

  • Getting up early and going to bed early: sleep is very important to recuperate from stress. If you get up early every day during the study period, on the day of the exam, it will be easier to get up early,
  • Eating foods rich in potassium, magnesium, antioxidants and vitamin C: almonds, bananas, red fruits, oranges, kiwis,
  • Play sports to let off steam and be more efficient,
  • A tip for future college students, if you feel nervous on the day of the event: chew gum! Chewing gum allows the oxygenation of the brain and helps you refocus but also manage your stress if needed.

To sum things up:

  • Preparing for the Spanish SAT Subject Test is a long-term endeavor that starts at the beginning of the year.
  • Go to class, participate in it, be curious, make flashcards: it will also serve you for higher education.
  • Don’t neglect your sleep nor the quality of your food: a healthy mind is always a healthy body.
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