Top 10 Test Taking Tips For The SAT

Standardized Test

Standardized Test (Photo credit: biologycorner)

Taking an SAT test can be a difficult and nerve-racking experience.  However, it is also something that you can actually enjoy and be able to get the most out of it that you possibly can.  Let’s go over a hand-full of tips and guidelines that can help ensure that your test taking experience is a positive one.


1 – Know what you’re up against; take several full-length practice tests.


As the old saying goes, “practice makes perfect”, so be sure to practice a lot for SAT to get a great score. A SAT online course is a great way to practice and get familiar with the testing formats.


2 – Be sure to practice essay writing as there will be sections that require an essay response.


Essays are a very important part of successfully completing the SAT.  So when doing a SAT practice test, be sure that they include essay portions as well.


3 – Take advantage of the fact that you can use a calculator.


There are some standardized tests that forbid the use of a calculator, but the SAT are not one of them, so take full advantage of that fact.  Be sure to bring a calculator that you are familiar with in order to quickly get the results you are looking for.


4 – Do lots of reading, especially about topics that you aren’t too familiar with.


This can help you to read faster and comprehend more.  It’s important to remember during your SAT prep that the test is timed, so the quicker you can read the question, the more time you will have to answer it.


5 – Study lots of vocabulary and try to retain the new words.


Another key ingredient for successful SAT prep is being familiar with lots of different words.  The SAT tests vocabulary both directly and indirectly by scattering words that you should know throughout the test.


6 – Be sure that you understand the test structure.


At this point in your life, you’ve probably taken a lot of tests by now.  However, don’t let that lull you into a sense of complacency with the SAT.  They are not structured like most tests.  A good SAT practice test can help you become familiar with the structure and layout of the actual SAT test.


7 – Try to memorize basic rules and formulas as it will save you precious time in the long run.


Any equations, processes, or formulas that you can memorize will help you out in the long run.  For example, even if you have access to a calculator, simply remembering the formula to get the answer can be faster than having to put all the information into your calculator.


8 – Use multiple choice answer options to your advantage.


A large portion of the SAT are multiple choice answers.  If you come across a question you aren’t sure about, first try to eliminate possible answers that you know just can’t be an option for the correct response.  Then through the process of elimination, your possibilities can be trimmed down drastically.


9 – Know when to guess and know when to skip questions.


Remember not to just blindly guess answers as it can be more beneficial for your score to leave an answer blank if you don’t know the answer and can’t eliminate the majority of the responses as possibilities.


10 – Stay calm.


Staying calm is always the key to success.  The more nervous, stressed, and uptight that you are, the less your mind will be able to concentrate and the important task at hand, the test.

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SAT Prep – Then and Now

As the next generation of this country’s youth stand poised, preparing to leap forward into adulthood and the world, they are leaping into a far different world than the one many of their parents braved. Communication happens in an instant, any place in the world is but a few mouse-clicks away, prices for even the most basic of needs are rising on a global scale, and the job market is more competitive and ruthless than it has ever been. Even with all these changes, there is still three little letters that can cause the most confident of students to worry: SAT.

With college admissions being as competitive as ever and the job market still suffering in many places, a college education is as important as ever. One of the most daunting hurdles between many students and their future college careers is the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT. One test and the number it provides is the difference, for many students, between acceptance and rejection when it comes to college applications.

Fortunately, in all the changes the digital age has brought into the world, there have been some major advances in SAT prep courses. SAT prep was once an expensive affair, requiring students to set aside time for extra classes and their parents to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on books and administration fees. Even with the books and fees, many times, prep courses overflow with students. Lost in the crowd, these students sometimes miss valuable personal attention that would make the difference between average scores and excellent scores.

Now, with the Internet, it is possible for a student to get a fully customized SAT prep course built to suit their needs. Students can take learn the information and take the practice tests on a timetable that suits their lifestyle. If there are any questions or trouble areas, it is as simple as reviewing the material and practicing until they know the content. With feedback and the ability to track their progress, confidence builds in a visible and meaningful way, allowing students to walk into their SAT with the knowledge that they can, and will, do well.

Best of all, this can now be obtained for free. With such an importance placed upon higher education in the workplace and global economy, there are very few things that a person can do at absolutely no cost to increase their chances of success. With no time obligations or upfront fees, what once was a service available to those who could afford it, is now easily accessible and ready to help anyone willing to take the time and take advantage of the offerings.

How Much Time Should I Spend Preparing for the SAT?

Deciding how much time to spend preparing for the SAT is important to setting up a realistic timeline and a plan to be ready on test day. Schedule your test early and then plan backwards from test day to be sure that you will not feel rushed in preparation.

For most high school students, three months is the perfect amount of time to spend preparing for the SAT. This will give you plenty of time to review material, zero in on trouble areas, and take plenty of practice tests to check on your progress along the way. Three months will also give you time to feel comfortable with the format of the test and prepared for what you will face on SAT test day.

Students who like to feel that they have extra time and have the time to devote to test prep can always start earlier. This may help some students feel less anxious about the SAT and know that they have done all that they can to prepare. If you start earlier, you have more room to spread out your test preparation and go at a pace that works for you.

If you have taken the test before and feel that you just need to brush up on the material before trying again, one month of preparation may be okay. It all depends on what will help you to feel confident when you sit down to take the test. If you only have one month to prepare, it is important to focus in almost immediately on the areas that give you the most trouble so that you have time to work through challenging material before taking the SAT.

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Test Day Checklist

It is extremely important to go into your SAT test day confident, calm, and well prepared. Taking SAT practice tests during your study sessions will help ensure that you are familiar with the format of the SAT and allow you to relax and do your best work on test day. Having all the right tools with you on test day will also help you successfully complete the SAT.

Be sure that you know the exact time and location for check-in. If you are unfamiliar with the area, you may consider driving to the test location once ahead of time so that you know how long it will take. This will be one less thing to worry about on test day. You will also need to print your SAT admission ticket from the College Board website and bring it with you for check in on test day.

Photo Identification
You will need to have a proper form of photo identification with you the day of testing. A driver’s license, state-issued photo identification card, school identification card, or passport are all acceptable forms of identification.

A number two pencil is required for the SAT and it is suggested that you pack two pencils to be safe. Pens and mechanical pencils are not allowed. Be sure that your pencils are sharpened and ready for use before you arrive at the testing location. A good eraser is also helpful to make clean corrections to your test.

You will want to read the requirements for calculators before the day of the test. For the SAT, a graphing or scientific calculator is recommended. A four-function calculator is allowed, but not recommended. Laptop calculators, cell phone calculators, and pocket organizers are not allowed. It is advisable to put fresh batteries in the calculator before the test.

While certainly not required, you are permitted to bring snacks and drinks with you for the break. Pack a water bottle and a small snack that you can eat to recharge your energy during the break.

The testing room will generally be equipped with a wall clock, but it is always helpful to have a watch with you on testing day. Turn off any audible alarms before going into the test. A watch will ensure that you can budget your time accordingly and that you will be able to complete the entire test.

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