Though many colleges today place less emphasis on Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores than applicants realize, the exam is still an important tool used to measure a student's academic potential. Here's how to prepare for this all-important adolescent milestone.

Decide when you'll take the test, and register by the appropriate deadline. Leave plenty of time to study.

Focus on learning the test as much as the content. The SAT is a multiple-choice exam in which each correct answer adds points to your score and each incorrect answer subtracts from it.

Obtain copies of earlier tests from the College Board, a test-preparation company or a bookstore. Practice taking the test to become comfortable with it.

Review class notes in language arts and math. Within those subject areas, concentrate on reading comprehension, vocabulary, grammar and usage, geometry, algebra and arithmetic.

Practice by giving yourself timed mini-tests. Don't spend too much time on any one question, since each is worth an equal amount. If you finish before the time is up, go back and work on any questions you skipped the first time around, or review your answers if you completed the test.

Study all you want until the night before the test. Then knock off and get a good night's rest.