Let's face it. If your goal is to do well, or better, then you have to practice!


Strategies for Success

The SAT is unlike any test you’ll take in school. While some say the questions are "tricky," almost everyone agrees that the test is long (3 hours and 45 minutes!) and that the time limitations make things more stressful. Here are some general strategies for success:

  1. Take the PSAT.
    Test taking is a skill, one you can learn, and the PSAT provides an excellent opportunity to practice this skill. After you get your PSAT results, look them over carefully. In what areas were you strong? Weak? Can you figure out the answers to those problems you got wrong?
  2. Do the College Board’s Official SAT Question of the Day.
    This is a great way to get in quick, daily practice in many of the SAT areas. For each question, you get the answer and an explanation.
  3. Purchase the College Board’s study guide, entitled "The Official SAT Study Guide."
    The College Board writes the test, so why purchase a study guide written by someone else? (The second edition contains 10 full practice tests.)
  4. Practice, practice, practice, in a test environment (timed, no distractions).
    Start early and set aside time each week to complete 3-4 practice test sections. Spend at least 1-hour on each section – 30 minutes completing the section (filling in the bubbles using the provided answer sheet) and 30 minutes using the answers to rework and understand those problems you got wrong.
  5. Remember that the sentence completion questions (Critical Reading), the Math questions, and the Writing questions increase in difficulty.
    Each question is worth the same. Don’t spend too much time on any one question, particularly if it’s towards the end and you’ve left easier questions unanswered.
  6. Understand the power of leaving questions blank.
    The SAT subtracts a quarter-point for each wrong answer; unless you can definitely eliminate at least two choices, you’re generally better off to simply leave it blank. (The Power of Omitting and Should You Guess?)
  7. On test day, take and use your own digital watch (with stopwatch, the same one you used when practicing) and bring high-energy snacks.
    Don’t rely on the clock in the room or the proctor (who may, or may not, announce, "5 minutes remaining"). And, a couple of snacks (piece of fruit, energy bar) will help keep your energy up; 3 hours and 45 minutes is a long time.