10 Tips to Ace the SAT

by
High School Student

Mar   2016

Thu

24

It’s a common misconception: “You can’t study for the SAT!” True, the test is based on the core skills you’ve been using since your earliest days of education, but that doesn’t mean the SAT is easy. Maybe you can’t study in the traditional sense of the word, but you can learn the tricks you’ll need to ace the SAT with the best score you can.

  1. Practice. Get your hands on preparatory materials, whether it’s practice questions from an SAT study app, the free test simulator on the College Board website, or the SAT Word Game right here on CollegeXpress.
  2. Use common sense. If you read carefully to decipher what the question is asking, you can save yourself from a wrong answer on an easy question.
  3. Read. The test is based on your ability to comprehend what you read, use words correctly in context, and recognize errors in fundamental grammar. These are all skills you can acquire from reading, whether it’s science fiction novels, newspapers, or sports almanacs.
  4. Use the choices to your advantage. For example, for math problems with variables in the multiple-choice section, it may be easier to plug in the answer choices than to solve the problem by hand.
  5. Use process of elimination. This is one of the most important things you can do on the SAT in both the Math and Language sections. If there are answer choices you know couldn’t possibly be correct, narrow down your options by crossing them out.
  6. Learn new vocabulary. This can be done in a plethora of ways, including apps, flash cards, or a good old-fashioned dictionary.
  7. Make it visual. When reading a long passage, make sure to underline key points and important quotes. When trying to analyze a math problem, draw a picture or make a list if appropriate.
  8. Purchase an SAT skills book. While you may not feel like taking on the extra work of answering practice questions and brushing up on your math and grammar skills, it will be well worth it when you see the increase in your score.
  9. Take an SAT prep course. This tends to be a pricier option, but these courses teach you how the test works, how to answer particular problems and questions correctly, and how to ace the test. This summer I took a two-week SAT course at my high school that helped me tremendously; there was an increase of over 200 points in my practice test scores after I took the course.
  10. Don’t sweat it. Test anxiety can get the best of all of us at times, but the best thing you can do for yourself is to go into the SAT with a calm and confident attitude. In the end, it’s just another test, and if it doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped, you can always take it more than once.

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About Kristen Loughlin

Kristen Loughlin, a student writer, is currently a high school junior on the search for her perfect college and major. Her passions including writing, making music, and helping others.

 
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