If your plans after high school include college or technical school, you’re almost certainly going to have to take the SAT. Of course, the prospect of taking a test that has such an impact on your future can be daunting, particularly if there are areas in which you know you have weaknesses. But fear not; there are some things you can do if you want to ace the SAT, and here are six tips from experience and from the experts.
1. Practice with real questions
The experts at PrepScholar say that the best questions to use for your study are those that will most closely resemble the ones on the SAT. Many test prep books are either a lot harder or a lot easier than the actual questions on the exam. If you want to ace the SAT, use the official practice tests provided by the College Board.
2. Practice with real time limits
The most important thing you can do is to complete practice tests under real time constraints so that you can get used to finishing each section in the time allotted to it.
3. Ask a teacher
If there are questions you’re having problems with, consider talking to one of your teachers in that subject area. He or she may have some tips that will help you get a correct answer, and those tips might help you with other questions as well. Protip: Teachers really like being approached by students with a sincere desire to learn.
4. Get enough sleep
If you want to ace the SAT, it can be tempting to stay up until the wee hours of the morning “cramming.” But you’ll do yourself more harm than good by doing so. You need to be well rested in order for your mind to function at its best, so study in the evening but don’t burn the midnight oil.
5. Eat breakfast
Your brain works best when it’s well nourished, so don’t run out of the house with a coffee and a breakfast bar. Take the time to start your test day with a nutritious breakfast if you want to ace the SAT.
6. Stay hydrated
Bring water or electrolyte drinks with you. It’s hard to concentrate on the test when your body is telling you how thirsty you are.
7. Answer all the questions
Before 2016, students were advised not to answer questions if they didn’t know the answer. Back then, test takers wouldn’t be penalized for a non-answer, while they would be penalized for an incorrect answer. This is no longer true. If you want to get the highest possible score, you’re going to have to answer every question.
8. Answer the easy questions first
Because your score depends on answering all the questions, answer the questions in each section that come easily first. Then take the time left to work on the harder questions. Answering the easy questions will help you build your confidence.
9. Use extra time to check your work
If you finish a section of the SAT before time is up, use those extra few minutes to go back over your answers.
10. Remember that you have other opportunities
If you didn’t ace the SAT and you’re disappointed with your score, the SAT is offered seven times during the academic year, so you definitely have time to try again.
Do you have any other tips for students on how they can do well on the SAT? Please share them in the comments.
Photo: A student prepares for the SAT. Credit: Kaplan Test Prep / Shutterstock.com