Top 3 SAT Prep-Strategies For Student Athletes

Dominic Tinodi March 12, 2021
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Top 3 SAT Prep-Strategies For Student Athletes

Covid-Freaking 19. Athletic departments reducing scholarship budgets on a case-by-case basis. Student athletes receiving additional years of eligibility. Schools cutting athletic programs or suspending them for a certain time period. Students delaying their initial college enrollment with NLI Delayed Enrollment Agreements being issued. Top schools seeing record numbers in applicants due to the then-not-so-promising outlook of the academic year 2020-21.
Sounds scary? Without doubt, it's certainly not been the most fun year to be a high school junior or high school senior on the verge of getting recruited.

But more than ever before, academics matter a huge deal and one way to help your case is by maxing out what you are capable of on the SAT. Working with athletes with completely different goals in life - some heavy on athletics, some heavy on academics - one question is of recurring nature over and over again:

How shall I best prepare for the SAT?

Hit a search engine, type something along the lines of "SAT study tips" or "SAT test strategies" and rest assured you'll get plenty of results that just sit there waiting to be reviewed. But what if you don't want to read through all the resources or what if you want somebody within the college sports recruiting industry to offer their take? We acknowledge that and good news ahead - we got some valuable insights, we'd be happy to share with you in this article. This edition of our Friday Scholarship Guide is dedicated to SAT Test-Prep-Strategies only.


1. Purchase The Official SAT Study Guide

More the kind of study type who likes to get down to work on actual paper? A combination of getting official SAT Study Guides by the testing organization and/or printing out old tests is an obvious, low-cost strategy. This can get you really far if you are disciplined and show a great degree of motivation to dig into several practice tests prior to taking the actual SAT on test day.
Practice tests come with answer keys to all the questions, but without any actual strategies on how to solve them, as may be offered by companies or experienced tutors in the field (more on that below).

2. Register With Khan Academy

A complete stand-alone approach or in addition to the above option, registering with Khan Academy opens the door to an excellent free tool and helps making sure you don't "forget" prioritizing your upcoming SAT in the near future.

Yes, we know - your biology or Math teacher may think that their classes are the single most important topics in your life right now and it's easy to lose focus on the fact that your SAT result is of great importance as well.
In order to help you not forget, Khan Academy allows you to set up a study plan with a number of questions per day/week and set dates for your scheduled practice tests leading up to the big test day. There's no hiding anymore, no excuses - just stick to your study plan, answer those 5 questions a day or make it 10 and you can be certain you get your weekly portion of SAT prep in the books.

3. Invest In "Prep Experts"

If you and your parents understand the value of a (slightly) better SAT result for your college admissions process, you may want to consider investing in a different sort of test preparation. The kind of test prep which doesn't just walk you through the questions and answer keys, but offers a tool box for you to draw on based on the specific problems you are faced with. You'll acquire those tools and strategies and learn to apply them come test day.

There are a number of specialized experts in this field, such as private tutors, prep schools and online courses. An offering we think highly of is that of Prep Expert, which has a really large number of services on offer:

  • Intense 4-week, 6-week or 8-week courses
  • Weekend reviews
  • Self-paced courses
  • Private tutoring sessions

Needless to say the guys at Prep Expert are way better at explaining in great detail what advantages come with the various services they offer to students, but the exciting thing about Prep Expert is the fact that

  1. all its tutors are true experts, having scored a perfect score on the SAT or ranked in the Top 1% on the test; and
  2. their courses come with an "Improvement Guarantee", which means nothing else than:
    Get your money back if you don't improve!


To us, the really intriguing aspect about getting a significantly higher score on your SAT comes with a potentially way higher academic scholarship offer, while opening more doors to schools you may have otherwise not had a shot at.
Put differently, an investment of a couple hundred bucks may come with a return in the form of a better multi-year academic scholarship or the key to getting accepted to your dream school.

If you are up for investing in "prep experts", you may want to check out what Prep Expert has in store! Depending on the course, free trials are available to have a look at the range of tools and strategies first!

Academic Results Matter To Find Your Dream College Team

In some of our previous blog posts in the past, we covered extensively why academics matter a great deal.
For example: The 'Getting-Recruited-To-Your-Dream-College' Formula

While neither NCAA initial eligibility requirements "sliding scale" (combination of core-course GPA and your SAT/ACT score) nor NAIA eligibility requirements (970) may pose the biggest of challenges to you, internal university admissions requirements may put an end to your application efforts. You do see a lot of schools claiming that they'll look at any application, but still, there's a reason why some SAT mid-ranges are in the ball park of 1,390-1,480, because scores matter and to some admissions teams it's somewhat of a must-see to score well above a certain threshold.

A potential 200 point increase (remember, that's one of the Prep Expert "Improvement Guarantees") simply means you have more opportunities in terms of number of schools. In case you haven't thought about it yet, the same goes for your athletic level by the way... Add to that the fact that you may unlock more financial aid and you've got yourself a nice family conversation around dinner table as to what may be the smartest preparation strategy.
For what it's worth, strong academic results may exempt your academic scholarship from counting towards the program's athletic scholarship budget, which makes you "more recruitable" to a coach than a comparably strong athlete with poorer academic results.

On Getting Recruited

First off, any prep strategy goes and you just gotta have to figure out which strategy is most appealing to you and your background to get you into your dream college in 2021, 2022 or any year thereafter. But most certainly, we do look at the whole college recruiting process through the lens of athletes, who have come to this point, investing countless of hours in the gym, on the field, in the water, on the court. Add to that the fact that some families may have invested pretty large sums of money in hiring professional coaches and mentors to ensure the right athletic development.
Both applies just to the same extent to the academic side of things:

  • Do you usually average 2 hours of practice a day with the goal of securing yourself a spot in a good college program in the future? In comparison to that, what's it gonna take in preparing for the SAT? It will take some sort of commitment on your end, that's for sure and the bare minimum are getting yourself familiar with the test format and taking at least 1 practice test prior to the test.
  • There's a reason you don't hone your athletic skill set on your own entirely, but trust the assessment of qualified professionals. The same goes for (high school) teachers and SAT prep experts - they are nothing else than qualified professionals, getting you to the next level and preparing you for what's to come.

Have a go on the above possibilities together with your family or friends! Get a feel for what it may take getting into your dream school, by accessing SAT mid-ranges in our college database. Get started with your free recruiting profile here.
And in case you have any questions or comments on SAT test preparation strategies, email contact@smarthlete.com and we'll be happy to help you out! Got yourself a first score and ready to get recruited? Your Smarthlete profile is just waiting to be completed with your fresh SAT result, with coaches definitely on the lookout for that update ;).

Dominic Tinodi March 12, 2021
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