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51 Tips for Acing the SAT - College

51 Tips for Acing the SAT


1. First things first; don't forget to register by the deadline! Doing so way in advance will assure you don't miss it, plus give you a longer time frame to begin planning your study schedule.

2. If you haven't already taken the PSAT, you should probably reconsider. It's a great stepping stone to taking the final SAT, and you'll have a better understanding of what's going on.

3. After registering, you need to set aside specific times for you to study for the test. We're not talking a few days before you take it either; you'll need to schedule study time over weeks and months to allow enough time to study properly.

4. You'll want to get an idea of what you are getting into by taking an older, free SAT practice test. This will give you the feel of what the test is like and how long it will take to complete.

5. When taking the practice tests, you'll want to time yourself taking each part of the SAT. Because each section of the actual test is timed, you'll need to make sure you can complete it in time.

6. If you have trouble studying on your own, consider recruiting the help of a test preparation service such as Kaplan, experts who have assisted students in SAT preparation for years.

7. In addition to catching classes, you may want to consider using SAT preparation software to help you learn the ways around the test.

8. Take the test early! If you are not happy with the final score of your test, you can void the entire test and take it again. Taking it early with allow you enough time to try again if you wish.

9. Learn the directions of each section in advance; this way, when it actually comes time to take the test, you won't waste any precious test-taking time.


Supplies You'll Need To Prepare and Take the Test

pencil10. Better break out that dictionary; in your reading aspects of the test, you will be challenged with words you may not quite understand. Brush up on your vocabulary while taking the practice test.

11. Speaking of vocabulary, a good way to learn definitions is by placing them on individual index cards. Grab a friend to help you memorize new words you might encounter on the test.

12. You may use an acceptable calculator to help with your math problem solving for the reasoning or mathematic subject tests.

13. Be sure to pick up the Official SAT study guide, which is chock full of tips and lessons to help you in your test preparation.

14. You are going to need a watch. Remember, each part of the test is timed, so having a method of telling time will help you keep track so you can complete the test.

15. 3 sharpened number 2 pencils; go ahead and try to take the test with one, and see what happens. This way you have backups should you break one too many points (or if you need more than one to chew on!)


Taking the Test

16. Answer the easiest questions first, then come back later to finish the harder ones. You'll do this to have a better shot of getting more answers right should you run out of time.

17. Be clear to only pick one answer; the SAT is graded by a Scantron computer, and any stray pencil marks or multiple answers could mean getting marked as being wrong if you're not careful.

18. Don't spend too much time on 1 question! Be aware of the clock at all times; if you think you're taking too long to answer, skip it and come back if there's time left.

19. If you don't have any idea what the answer to a question is, leave it blank! The SAT is a points based test that detracts points for wrong answers. Leaving answers blank won't earn you points, but you won't loose any as well.


Mathematics Review

pencil20. In the mathematics section, you'll be dealing heavily with basic numbers and operations. These problems involve arithmetic word problems, properties of integers, counting techniques, and more.

21.Algebra and functions will also be part of your math section, including properties of exponents, quadratic equations, equations of lines, and other concepts of algebra.

22. You will also need to brush up your knowledge in the areas of geometry and measurement, knowing aspects such as area, perimeter, volume, circumference, and other measurements.

23. Other mathematics elements you will encounter on the SAT will be data analysis, statistics (mean, median, and mode), and probability.

24. Be prepared to answer several of the mathematics section in a grid-in where you are not provided with any answer and must pencil the correct one in.



Critical Reading Sentence Completion

25. Try to think of what the answer could possibly be in your own mind before looking at the actual answers. This may help you decide which one is right a lot quicker than just staring at all four answers all day.

26. At the same time, the answer you imagined might have not been the right one. Don't choose an answer too fast; be sure to look over each one thoroughly before deciding.

27. Sometimes you're going to run into words you will not understand. A good rule of thumb is to use the context of the surrounding words to help determine the meaning.

28. Be aware of various words and phrases that may change the meaning or context of the sentence, such as the negative prefix "un" and and "like not" which can reverse the possible answer.

29. By being aware of different prefixes and suffixes, and by knowing what they mean and how they affect a word, you may be able to figure out definitions of unknown words or phrases.

30. A good method in finding the best answer is to let transition words (like although and likewise) to help decide for you.



Reading Comprehension

pencil31. Try as much as possible to keep your answers to the questions based only on what is stated or implied in the passages you are reading. Do not try to assume things not mentioned or alluded to.

32. While it may seem unimportant or insignificant, be sure to read the italicized introductory text found before many of your readings. This text usually includes important information needed to understand the article.

33. Pay very close attention to the first and last sentences of an article, as they are often critical when determining your answers. First sentences usually allude to a main idea with final sentences providing hints of the conclusion.

34. Many times you will notice questions that refer back to the passage; each of these should include a line reference number to help find the right spot in the passage.

35. Just as you would answer easier questions first in the math section, try to answer questions based on topics you are familiar with first, and save those unfamiliar for later if you have the time.

36. Don't try to answer the questions by reading them first. Read the passages in their entirety before attempting to answer any questions, or else you might have nowhere near the right answer.

37. Always remember you are being timed, and not to spend too much time reading a passage or trying to memorize details; you'll need that time to focus on the answers.

38. The actual content used in your SAT comes from various subjects including Humanities, Social Science, Science, and Literal Fiction.

39. Some of the passages in the test may be presented in pairs. Make sure you read the brief introduction first to see how they relate to each other.



pencil40. You will be responsible for writing a short short (about 250-300 words), persuasive essay on a topic which will be assigned to you as part of your test.

41. Once you learn the structure of an essay (5 paragraphs consisting of an: Introduction, Body (about 3 paragraphs), and Conclusion), it will be much easier to complete.

42. You will only have 25 minutes to complete your article, so make sure you allow enough time to actually write the thing. Take a few minutes to brainstorm and a few at the end to proofread.

43. When writing the introductory paragraph, do not forget to include the main idea of the essay along with the 3 main points of the subsequent paragraphs.

44. Make sure these 3 body paragraph discusses these main ideas in further detail using examples, making clear arguments that back up the essay's main idea.

45. Make sure to add a proper conclusion in your final paragraph, usually re-wording your main idea used in your introduction.

46. Try to keep your writing as simple as possible, avoiding the use of slang and over wordiness.

47. It's a good practice when writing your essay to use short sentences that use action verbs to get the point across.

48. Cross out the bad stuff! If you have time at the end once your essay is completed, review your work and cross out anything that doesn't work.

49. Remember, someone grading your essay has to read quite a bit at any given time; if possible, try to show some personality and entertain your reader.

pencil50. So you've spent the last few months up late each night getting a little studying done; make sure to get a good night's sleep the night before the actual test.

51. Chill out and try to relax - the SAT is an important test, but not the end of the world. Just focus on completing the test and doing the best you can. You can always take it again if you so desire to!

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