SAT Test Taking Tips and Strategies

by Karen Palmer on March 2017

SAT test taking tipsTaking the SAT is stressful, and you might not know where to start. If you want to get your best scores ever, you need to know all the tips and tricks of dealing with every test section. You just have to learn how the SAT works and you’ll be able to explore and answer all problems much more easily.

Here are some proven tactics to improve your SAT performance significantly and feel more confident on the test.

1. Read carefully. Pay attention to the smallest details. You don’t want to lose points because of the careless mistakes. You need to read the questions and answers thoroughly to make sure that you properly understand what you are required to do.

2. Answer easy questions first. SAT questions are not arranged in the order of difficulty, so you need to determine your personal one. It is important to identify the questions you find complex or easy. First of all, answer the simple problems and only then proceed with the more difficult ones. This will save you a lot of time.

3. Look for wrong answers instead of right answers. If you don’t know the right answer but know which choices are definitely wrong, you will improve your chances of answering right. This is called the process of elimination. Since you are not penalized for the wrong answers on the SAT, you should always guess. Eliminate even one possibility and you have a 1:3 chance of guessing correctly.

4. Skip the questions you don’t know and return to them later. First of all, answer the questions you know or just can eliminate some choices. If you are not sure about the answer, come back to the question when you finish the test and have some time to think. For the Math and Reading sections, don’t spend more than a minute on each question. For the Writing section, don’t spend more than 30 seconds.

5. Look for direct evidence. You should always be able to find direct evidence to support your answers. You can make some logical deductions from the presented information to find the right statement. All incorrect answers are incorrect for good reason. Try to find those reasons until you narrow your answers to one possibility.

6. Keep the answer sheet precise. Your answer sheet will be scored by a machine which cannot see the difference between the answer and a doodle. That’s why make sure that you mark all answers neatly.

7. Use the test booklet. Scratch work is extremely important on the SAT. Don’t be embarrassed by writing in the test booklet, this will help you keep your mind focused. Use it to take notes or write down the ideas, it will not affect your scores.

8. Work at a steady pace but keep track of time. The SAT time is limited, so you need to track your progress occasionally. Reading and answering each question takes time, so make sure you keep a cool head and keep moving.

9. Double check your answers. If you have extra time at the end of a particular section, double check the answers. Surely, it may be tempting to take a rest, but you may find some careless mistakes when you check the sheet accurately.

Good luck!