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5 SAT Test Taking Strategies

Updated: May 29

Here are a few strategies you can work on while taking practice tests that will help you get ready for test day. Use the same strategies while taking the actual test.

1. Answer the Easier and Quicker Questions First

All questions are worth the same number of points, regardless of whether it takes you 1 or 3 minutes to solve them. Prioritize the easier and quicker questions in the reading passages even if this means you are skipping around. This way you can answer more questions correctly in a shorter amount of time.

In the writing and grammar section, If you read the sentence the first time and it is grammatically correct, select "No change". Then, if it is not, look at the shortest answer first. The shortest answer that makes sense is always the correct answer. So, instead of looking at the answer choices in order of the letters (A, B, C....), look at them in order of length. Plug in the shortest answer first, then the next shortest, and the next shortest until you find the one that makes sense.

2. Check the Questions Carefully

In the math section, many questions focus on solving for a variable (let's say X) and then inputting that variable into a new context (let's say X+6). For the word problems, look at the last line in the problem where the actual question is to find out what it's asking for. Then go back up and read the rest to determine what information is given. Make sure you choose the answer choice that answers the question that is being asked (in this example the question is to find X+6 rather than X).

3. Check the Answer Choices Carefully

In the reading section, very often one part of each answer choice is actually true. However, the other part of the answer choice may not be true. Remember that in the correct answer all the parts true, so examine the entire answer choice carefully. In the incorrect answers, the first part may be correct but there will usually be one phrase (usually the second part of the answer), or even one word, that makes that answer false.

4. In Math, do the open-ended questions first

In the math section, like in the other sections, you should work in order from easier/quicker questions to harder/longer questions. Work on the open-ended questions first (they appear at the last part of the Math section), because those answers could not be guessed like in the multiple-choice questions. Once you are done, switch to the multiple-choice questions. In case you run out of time — you can always guess on any multiple-choice questions you have left, which you can't do on the open-ended questions.

5. Guess the Same Letter

If you notice that you are about to run out of time, guess the same letter for each question you don't know. This way you have more chances of accumulating more points, rather than guessing a different letter for each question.

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