• 3-minute read
  • 6th May 2016

5 Essential SAT Tips: Sitting the Exam

The SAT was recently updated to reflect its ongoing importance to higher education in the US. And if you’re relying on a good SAT score for your college application, you need to prepare for when the day of the test arrives. Luckily, we’ve got a few SAT tips to help you optimize your exam performance.

SAT Tips
Photo: lecroitg/Wikimedia

1. Get in the (SAT) Zone

Like any exam, sitting the SAT can be stressful. You should therefore do everything you can to make sure the test day is as stress-free as possible.

This includes packing everything you need the night before so you don’t have to worry about it in the morning, as well as getting plenty of rest and eating a healthy breakfast.

2. Read Carefully and Pace Yourself

When the exam begins, read all instructions and questions carefully; you don’t want to make mistakes simply because you misunderstood something on the test paper!

Likewise, before setting to work, take a moment to consider how long you need to complete each part of the test. Pacing yourself will ensure you don’t run out of time before finishing.

3. Maximizing Test Efficiency

There are a few things you can do to maximize your test score. The first is focusing on what you already know: prioritizing questions you feel confident about ensures you’ll pick up the most points possible, rather than getting stuck on a tricky problem elsewhere.

You can then return to the other question afterwards. Even if you’re completely lost, the new SAT format doesn’t penalize wrong answers, so you can always guess!

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Moreover, if you’re unsure about a multiple choice question, eliminating wrong answers first will increase your chances of guessing correctly.

4. Look for Evidence

The reading section of the new SAT puts more emphasis than before on justifying your answers. The “command of evidence” questions, for instance, require you to identify textual evidence in the set passages.

Before you ask, not the CSI type of evidence.

This includes using evidence to support your own answers, understanding how authors use evidence in their writing, and considering how data can be used to support an argument.

5. Double-Check!

As proofreaders, we’re morally obliged to emphasize the importance of double-checking your work. When it comes to the SAT, you can usually gain a few extra marks simply by going back through your test booklet after you finish, correcting any errors or issues with clarity.

This is also why time management is such a vital skill. If you plan effectively, you should have enough time left after finishing to make sure everything is completed to a high standard.

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