Which test should students take? That all depends. Colleges accept scores from either the SAT or ACT, so students can take one or the other—or both!
Below is a compilation of the Top 10 tips directly from Green Mountain High School counselors, teachers and top-ranked online sources.
1. Know the order of difficulty.
SAT questions can be divided into three levels of difficulty: easy, medium and hard. The questions in the first third of each section are easy, those in the second third are medium and those in the last third are hard. Since every question on the SAT is worth an equal amount, spend your time making sure you get the easy and medium questions correct and tackle the hard questions last.
2. Look for wrong answers instead of right answers.
Don’t know the right answer? It happens. But if you know which choices are definitely wrong, you will significantly improve your chances of getting the question right.
3. Practice, practice, practice.
The more you practice, the more familiar you will be with the test format, and the less likely you are to panic when you take the test for real.
4. Pace yourself.
Calculate the amount of time you have to answer each question and avoid getting bogged down on any one question. A watch with a countdown timer can be very helpful for budgeting your time.
5. The SAT’s scoring formula has been “tweaked” to penalize you for incorrect answers.
As a result, lose more points for answering a question incorrectly than you do for not answering it at all. If you have absolutely no idea what the correct answer is to a question, skip it and move on.
6. Write in the test booklet.
Use your pencil to physically scratch out wrong choices, write down formulas and equations, solve math problems, outline, paraphrase and underline to help you read.
7. Transfer your questions at the end of each section.
Instead of going back and forth between the scantron and the test booklet, just write your answers in the test booklet and transfer them over at the end of every section/page. You’ll make fewer mistakes and save time.
8. Your mind may be ready, but prepare your body too.
Nervous students oftentimes spend the weeks leading up to the test cooped up in their rooms, studying feverishly. Be sure to remember to put the books down, get some fresh air, and clear your mind.
9. Don’t second-guess yourself.
Statistics prove that your first answer choice is usually correct. Do not go back through the test and change your answers. Your first instinct is typically correct.
10. Remember to breathe.