- 1.Don’t ignore the fundamentals
- 2. Figure out your mistakes
- 3. Never underestimate the power of Evidence Questions
- 4. Context and Connotation must be carefully read
- 5. Never ignore the introductions in a passage
- 6. Develop a reading strategy
- 7. Find Direct Evidences
- 8. Read the Passage with full interest
- 9. Don’t hesitate to re-solve questions that you missed
- 10. Fill the gaps first
- 11. Properly memorize the formulas
- 12. Don’t hesitate to underline the key points of the question
- 13. Be very careful selecting the ‘No Change’ choice
- 14. Grammar rules must be memorized
- 15. Don’t use anything other than specific evidence
- 16. Don’t just start writing, analyze first
- 17. Prepare yourself one night before the test
- 18. Your body needs preparation too
- 19. Skip any tough questions
- 20. Make sure to double check all your answers
- 21. Breathe in and stay calm
Preparing for your SAT is a big commitment that can leave you exhausted and broken. It is a tough undertaking and for anyone who is taking the test for the first time, it can be hard to know where to begin.
An extremely good way to start the preparation is to thoroughly understand the structure of the test, which allows you to come up with strategies to improve your overall score at the end. In this article, you will find 21 proven tips, tricks and techniques that will put extra points to your final score. The tips below are outlined in sections, make sure you follow them section by section.
SECTION 1 – Test Overall Tips
1.Don’t ignore the fundamentals
The most important rule that is often overlooked for SAT is that there is only a single proper answer for every question on the paper. In simple words, if you start to struggle with a question, you should know how to eliminate it. Try to find the reasons that will help you rule out the answers rather than waiting for reasons to occur with how certain options can work.
You need to be very picky when it comes to eliminating answers. This is a very good technique for the writing and reading sections of the test. If for example, a question seems subjective, just convince your mind that it is nothing but an illusion. Narrow down your answer to one possibility because the rest of the choices are incorrect.
2. Figure out your mistakes
If you want to dramatically improve your test, you must take out some time to figure out your mistakes, especially on the practice questions. Understand why you made the mistake and what can you do to make sure you don’t make that mistake in the real test. If you can master this process, you will likely add a lot more score to your final score.
Some of the most common mistakes students make include:
- Weak content
- Unable to comprehend the questions
- Time constraints
Perform the practice test to see what are your weakest areas from the above points. Note down all the questions that you answered incorrectly so you can start detecting the patterned errors you are making.
Did you have a problem with a particular question again and again? It could be content weakness.
Did you miss writing words? It could be carelessness.
Did you end up missing questions at the end? It could be because of time constraints.
Whatever issue you come across again and again during your practice test, you must understand them and improve upon it. This way you won’t make the same mistakes in the real test.
SECTION 2 – Reading
3. Never underestimate the power of Evidence Questions
SAT recently introduced new kinds of questions which have you selecting a part of the passage that serves as an evidence for your answer to the question. These questions can work to your advantage if you are able to identify the mistakes.
4. Context and Connotation must be carefully read
You will come across some very tough questions in the reading section of the test. You must look for any words that easily indicate the negative and positive connotation in the provided passage that the question is referring. This can in return help you eliminate a few choices even when you have no idea which of the choices that are remaining are correct.
Don’t ignore the context! Don’t just look at the exact lines that are being referenced in the question. Read and understand the sentences around it very carefully. You should be looking for words like ‘still’, ‘however’ etc. If you can determine the strong adjectives, it can help you determine the connotation easily.
5. Never ignore the introductions in a passage
On every question that appears on the SAT, there is an italicized blurb that will give you a bit of context about the author and the passage itself. This can often contain very valuable information. So make sure you never skip it.
6. Develop a reading strategy
Before you sit for the test, come up with a passage reading strategy. This will not only help you save time, but will also take off some stress of time constraints from you. Below is an example method to try developing a good reading strategy.
Skimming the passage
This is the highest recommended strategy to read a passage. By skimming, you will have a good idea of the passage. You will not waste time reading the passage fully. To perfectly skim through the passage, you must read the introduction, the conclusion paragraph, the first and last sentences of each of the paragraph in the passage.
7. Find Direct Evidences
Many of the SAT reading questions sound subjective when you read them. In reality, you should be able to always find direct evidence within a passage or chart that you are going to reference to support any of your answers. Remember, any answer that isn’t backed up by a specific information provided in the passage, it will be incorrect.
8. Read the Passage with full interest
One of the best ways to retain all the information you read from the passage is by engaging yourself with it. Read the entire passage with full interest and you will be able to easily retain the core material to support your answers. You should be so interested that your brain should automatically respond ‘ Hey, this is interesting!’.
SECTION 3 – Maths
9. Don’t hesitate to re-solve questions that you missed
During your practice session, if you messed up with any of the questions, don’t hesitate to go back and resolve them before looking at the answers. By attempting to correct a question yourself without looking at the answers, you will most likely be able to remember the process better for your final day.
10. Fill the gaps first
No matter what you do, if you are not good with basic math skills, no matter how many practice questions you perform, you will always find yourself lacking. As mentioned earlier, fill in the gaps in your content weakness. To see improvement, work on your basic skills before you do anything else.
11. Properly memorize the formulas
Do you want to save your time during the test? Then start memorizing the formulas. Even though you will be provided with a list of formulas, memorizing them will help you answer quicker and you won’t waste time finding formulas on the list.
12. Don’t hesitate to underline the key points of the question
Make sure you underline the main parts of the question. The things you need to solve must be underlined in order to avoid confusion when you are calculating stuff.
SECTION 4 – Writing
13. Be very careful selecting the ‘No Change’ choice
During your SAT, you will come across many questions in the writing section where you will be presented with a choice of selecting ‘No Error’ or ‘No Change’. Keep in mind that only 20% of the questions are correct if you choose the ‘No Error’ choice. If you find yourself answering with too many ‘No Error’ choices for questions, go back and reconsider your answers. At most, only 3-5 questions are ‘No change’ questions.
14. Grammar rules must be memorized
Remember that the SAT writing test has a very specific standardized approach to grammar. So make sure you learn and memorize these rules before you go for the test. It will help eliminate confusion. Memorize the rules even if you think you are really good at grammar because SAT standardized approach may be different from what you think is right.
15. Don’t use anything other than specific evidence
Writing to describe how the author builds on the argument isn’t enough. You must also add and prove your points with examples. One good way of doing this is to underline the important sentences when you are reading the passage. Use direct quotes when you begin writing your essay.
16. Don’t just start writing, analyze first
The new essay prompts on SAT require you to analyze arguments provided in a passage. The people behind the grading want to see how well you understood the author’s point within the passage. You must write a clear explanation of how the author builds the argument. Spend at least 10 – 15 minutes just trying to make sure you absolutely understand what the author is saying in the passage and how you will be able to outline it in your essay.
SECTION 5 – Test Day
17. Prepare yourself one night before the test
There is no question that on the test day, you will be quite nervous. During this time, you can forget a lot of important things, which is why you must prepare beforehand. You are required to bring some stuff with you before you can sit for the SAT. Below is a short checklist of the things you must bring with you.
- Your Identification card
- The admission slip
- Your Calculator
- Accessories like Pencil and eraser
Don’t forget to bring water and the snacks that are allowed. Make sure you put everything in a bag before the test day.
18. Your body needs preparation too
SAT isn’t just about your mind. During the test day, you must make sure that you have had plenty of rest and that your body is cool and calm. If you are exhausted, you will be unable to perform well. So make sure you have plenty of sleep and a good breakfast/lunch before you head for the test.
19. Skip any tough questions
If you don’t want the time constraint too loom over your head constantly, skip the hard questions. Ideally you should not be spending more than a minute on questions from the reading and math sections. And no more than 30 seconds trying to figure out questions for the Writing section.
If you do skip a question, make sure you circle it so you can come back later and try to solve it. When you have solved the other questions, the pressure will lighten up a bit and your mind will open up to new possibilities and you may even figure out an answer. If you are still unable to solve a question, make a guess!
20. Make sure to double check all your answers
This is a natural part of any test. Always double check your answers at the end. If there are any questions you struggled to solve, circle them and come back to double check them later. If you finish earlier than expected, go back and keep checking your answers thoroughly until the end.
21. Breathe in and stay calm
One of the biggest things that can ruin your ability to perform the SAT is getting massively nervous. Don’t let nervousness take control. Take a deep breath and remain calm. If you can’t figure something out, circle and move on. Do not linger on a tough question because that only adds to your nervousness.
If you follow these tips, there is no doubt that you will be able to add extra points to your final score. Improve your content skill and you will significantly increase your total score.