6 Essential SAT Tips and Strategies

Diverse group of students studying

Here are 3 tips to the longer term–the year leading up to the test–and 3 for the test date.

  1. Rest before the test. Do not cram. By the night before the test, you are as ready as you can be. Sleep well and get up in time to eat breakfast and arrive early, unhurried. Nothing you learn overnight will change your score, but lack of sleep might.
  2. Do easy questions first. You don’t want to miss doing two easy questions because you were stuck on one difficult one. Get the difficult questions after you first pass through the section.
  3. Do not agonize. Going back to changing an answer is likely to be a bad move. Common wisdom is that you should trust your first instinct with multiple choice. Unless you suddenly remember a piece of forgotten information, leave finished questions alone.
  4. Read plenty of good books, so you will recognize correct grammar and structure. When bank tellers are training, they are given real money to count until they are so familiar with it that they can detect counterfeits when they are introduced. Exposure to good writing makes bad writing painfully obvious and easy to detect in the verbal sections of the SAT.
  5. Read good essays so you can write them for the writing test. Ask an English teacher or librarian to recommend collections of essays. A good college composition book should include a section on essay writing, as should a good test preparation guide.
  6. Be sure to complete at least a semester of Algebra 2 before taking the SAT. The math portion covers geometry (without proofs) and algebra topics through the first half of Algebra 2 in a standard public school curriculum. There are no imaginary numbers, trigonometry, or calculus. Review order of operations, factoring, and basic geometry using a resource such as ipracticemath.com.



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