The SAT’s are coming up, and the pressure is on to earn a high score. College entrance exams loom large for good reason: hitting your goal on college entry exams could mean a golden ticket to your dream school. At the same time, a low score can extinguish your dreams of attending a top-tier school. The good news is that killing it on the SAT’s is all about developing and honing test-taking skills, instead of cramming formulas and facts into your brain. In other words, any student can become an SAT test-taking master. Test Prep Score’s list of tips for a higher SAT score will help you optimize your study time, and hit your SAT goals!
A lot of students forget that college entrance exams are not about cramming facts, figures, and formulas into your head. These tests are designed, in theory, to test your reasoning ability. In laymen’s terms, they’re designed to test your ability to take the test. Your SAT test prep should be a consistent, methodical, and long-term effort to build up your understanding of the way the SAT is scored, and how to answer the test’s questions. So try not to cram or worry about reviewing your trigonometry notes. Work in the preceding months of the exam to take practice tests and improve your score.
If you find yourself spending a disproportionate amount of time on a single SAT question, skip it and come back once you’ve tackled the rest of the section. Pouring over one difficult question will end up hurting your score because it takes away precious time from other questions you could focus on in that section. For the SAT’s, remember to put a star next to the toughies, and return to them after completing the section.
Give yourself a well-deserved break the night before the SATs. Studies show that cramming for the SAT’s the night does very little to improve your score. Assuming you’ve been doing proper test prep over the last few months, taking the night before your exam to see a movie and chill out is the best thing you can do to optimize performance. Make sure you get plenty of sleep so you wake up feeling energized, and ready to hit the exam with everything you’ve got.
Your goal for each SAT section should be to finish early so you have enough time to go back and double check all your answers. If you’re having difficulty with a particular question, put an asterisk next to it and come back to it after you’ve completed the section. If you work efficiently, you should have time at the end of the section to go back and make sure you answered every question correctly.
Wait until the end of each SAT section to bubble your answers in on the answer sheet. Instead, circle the answers on the test booklet as you go through it, and then switch over to your answer book to bubble in your answers. This will save you precious seconds that you would have otherwise spent going back and forth between the test book and the answer book after each question.
When you feel anxiety billowing up, take a deep breath and try to relax. Remember: you’ve been preparing for this moment for a while. As long as you’ve made a strategic, consistent, and methodical effort to improve your test scores in the months before the exam, rest assured that you have done everything in your power to kill it on the SAT’s.