Many students who do self-study for the SAT work backwards and base their preparation on the real SAT questions. The real questions in the official guides look seemingly easy and do-able after a certain amount of practice. These students also get an impression that the SAT is a test of pure Math and English language, so they work hard on the Math and English part of the test. We call such students “Normal Nick” :

Normal Nick The Pitfalls
1. Normal Nick behaves like most of the committed students who want to perform excellently on the SAT. Normal Nick prepares for the SAT by the only way he knows: the way he prepared for the school and college exams. 1. School and college exams test your knowledge, while the SAT tests your aptitude. If you prepare for SAT, the way most other students prepare, you are destined for a score of 500, the score most students get on the SAT.
2. Normal Nick works very hard to improve his score on the SAT. 2. Hard work is required in school or college exams, which test you on knowledge, so you have to either understand or mug up stuff that you can spill out in the exam, but SAT is not a test of knowledge.
3. Normal Nick buys all books, guides and study material available in the market. He browses the internet and downloads all the free stuff available, even joins some online forums where like-minded creatures discuss the problems they faced and suggestions on how to prepare. Normal Nick joins the nearest SAT prep institute or the one most of his friends are joining. To ensure nothing goes wrong, he even joins some online test prep programs. Normal Nick, as a result, studies all concepts taught by various institutes, books and his mentors in online forums. 3. These time-tested methods work on knowledge-heavy tests such as school and college exams, where the more you know and write the better scores you get. For SAT, the rules of the game are different and different SAT Prep classroom programs, books and guides have different orientations and some of them may even be suspect as tools to help you. Many sources of help will confuse you. Moreover, the online forums are even more unreliable; Any Tom, Dick and Harry can sit and preach there.
4. Normal Nick doesn’t have the confidence to attempt Mock SATs, as he still doesn’t understand why he is not picking up the credited answers despite his slogging. After all the hard work, the confusions are still there. 4. Attempting Mock SAT s helps you to make all the necessary midcourse correction required to get a perfect SAT score. If you haven’t taken at least 10 to 15 Mock SATs, analyzed your performance and learnt from your mistakes, then you are not ready for the real SAT.
5. For Normal Nick, the real SAT comes as a shock, unpredictable and frustrating. He ends up with a score of 540 and at times a bit higher. 5. If you are not prepared for it, then the world is really unfair.

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