September, 2013

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SAT: Understanding and Strategy

My Two Keys for SAT Success

 1. Understand the Test

  • Know the types of questions on the test. Study and practice them over and over. You may not become an expert at solving every question, but at least you will know what to expect…and that will majorly cut down on your anxiety on test day.
  • Know what the pace of each section feels like. The SAT has 10 separately timed sections. Time yourself while taking practice tests. Getting used to this pressure is key because the SAT developers give you the minimal amount of time you need.
  • Make it your goal to feel in control of the test. By understanding the questions and timing, you will not feel as overwhelmed by the length and difficulty of the SAT.

 2. Think Strategically

  • Know your strengths and weaknesses. Which types of questions are you best at? Can you answer those first without spending much time identifying them? Is there a strategy that will help you narrow down answers?
  • No points are lost for unanswered questions. If you have absolutely no idea of the answer, should you guess or leave it blank? Can you narrow down the possible answers to increase your chances?
  • Skip questions that will take you a significant amount of time to answer. Some problems are long and confusing and will take a while to figure out. If you realize this quickly, you can save precious time for answering easier questions. (Just make sure you mark the questions that you skip, in case you have time to come back to them!)
  • Except for the passagebased reading and improving paragraphs sections, the questions are ordered from easy to hard. This helps significantly because you will know the beginning questions in each section are the easiest, and you will not have to spend valuable time searching for them.
  • Learn how to make educated guesses. Does your test prep book offer suggestions on the best way to do this? Look! Pay attention to the similarities between practice tests—especially in the multiple-choice math sections. Are there similar problems with similar answers? Can you quickly weed out the false ones without computing the entire problem?

If you have questions about my suggestions or about my tutoring services, please comment below! Also, check out my ACT vs. SAT page!

Rachel Cheslik

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