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How To Excel on the Spanish SAT Subject Test

From Jon, published on 20/02/2018 Blog > Languages > Spanish > How to Do Well on an SAT Spanish Subject Test

Are you stuck and don’t know where to start studying for the Spanish SAT Subject Test?

This guide is just for you!

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

So turn your Spanish powers on and let’s go!

Attend Spanish Classes

class-seats Class is the most important element of studying for the SAT Subject Test.

In case you didn’t know, the SAT Subject Test has to be prepared well in advance. From the beginning of senior year in fact (and it should already be thought about during other years). How? Here’s a clue: by going to class!

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 late in the morning.

Second thing: stay concentrated. I know, you didn’t see your friends the entire week and have lots of things to tell them… but do it at the lunch break. When you’re in class, make it a point to really listen.

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.

Study, Study, Study

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

studying-notes 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 to the essentials.

To make a flashcard, you must:

  • Reread 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 revision 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

world-out-there The world is yours! But first, you must study.

To feel good during the Spanish SAT Subject Test and to get those grades 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. Maybe you read Federico Garcia Lorca and you liked it? Run–don’t walk–to buy one of his collections of poems.

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.

Study in the Same Place

studying-there Always better to study in a quiet place!

How does one 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 much too tempting, so put your phone in airplane 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!


Mock Exams Are a Must

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.

Pauses Are Essential, Too!

time-is-essential Don’t forget to plan for some pauses! They help with concentration.

Timing is always about being as efficient as possible. Setting goals is important (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-minutes break, it is important to keep in studying mode. Don’t check notifications. The goal is to succeed on the SAT Subject Test, so stay focused. Take advantage of these 15 minutes to go out, walk a little, 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!

Forget Your Stress

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

zen-student Staying zen is essential in all test-things!

  • 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.

Be Kind to Your Body!

sleeping-beauty Your body needs at least 8 hours of sleep in order to recuperate from the stress of an upcoming exam! Never forget this.

During studying 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 on 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.
  • Neither do you neglect your sleep nor the quality of your food: a healthy mind is always a healthy body.
  • Are you interested in speaking to a tutor?

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