“How to Survive the SAT (and ACT)” – Part 3

My final post on the book “How to Survive the SAT (and ACT)”. As I’ve said, there’s a lot to be learned from those who have been there, and this book presents thoughts from a wide variety of students.

In this post, I’m summarizing the information from the three chapters that are specific to the three sections of the SAT. As before, I’m simply generalizing what some of the students are saying. I think you’ll find any time spent reading this book, getting specifics, to be worthwhile.

Critical Reading

This is probably the most difficult section to prepare/study for as what’s required is a solid reading background (being “well read”) that has yielded comprehension abilities and a good vocabulary. To put it succinctly, there’s no way to become a good reader without reading, and this takes far more time than 3-6 months before the test to develop.

That said, as you practice, determine if you prefer reading the passage first and then the questions, the questions and then the passage, or some combination of both (perhaps one way for short passages and the other for long passages).

As always, be aware of time.


When you finish a question, take the few seconds to make sure your answer makes sense and that you answered the question that was asked. The math is not hard, it’s more “tricky.”

Write everything down. (Too many mistakes come from, “I did it in my head.”)

For almost every student, the math tested is “beneath” what is currently being studied.


(Interestingly, the entire Writing chapter is all about the essay; there are no student quotes that speak to the multiple-choice sections.)

On the essay, take a few minutes (i.e. 2-3) to plan out what you’re going to write. Write as much as you can, using pertinent examples from books you’ve read, things you’ve learned in school, etc. to take a clear stand and make your case. “Big” words and higher-level punctuation, used correctly and appropriately, show that you have higher-level writing skills.

Hope this helps. Don’t forget… Plan, Practice, Perform. 🙂

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