14 SAT General Test-taking Strategies (page 2)
Here is a list of 14 SAT Test-taking Strategies:
1. Take control. Not every student will ace the SAT, but any student can take charge of it. Go into the test with confidence and the game plan that you've determined from using this book.
2. Lay everything out the night before. Sleep easy the night before the SAT knowing that you're ready to go. Lay out three #2 pencils with good erasers, your calculator with fresh batteries your admission ticket, your photo ID, and a snack.
3. Have a good breakfast. Your brain can't work well without fuel.
4. Know where you're going. If you're taking the SAT at an unfamiliar school, acquaint yourself with it before test day. Take a trip there in the days before the test.
5. Dress properly. Dress in light layers so you'll be comfortable whether the testing room is swelter ing or frigid. An uncomfortable body makes for a distracted brain.
6. Get a good two nights' sleep. A rested brain is a smarter brain. The nights before the SAT are for sleeping, not for all-nighters. Get a good eight hours each of the two nights before your SAT.
7. Get some exercise. Most teenagers are pretty foggy in the morning, so get a leg up on the competition by waking your brain with exercise. Twenty minutes of cardio will keep you alert.
8. Bring a snack. Your brain burns calories when it's thinking hard. Bring a granola bar, banana, or energy bar to the SAT to refuel during the break.
9. Know what to attack. As you begin each section of your SAT, know how many questions to attack. For instance, if you've got a realistic shot at breaking 700, you should be attacking every question. But if your goal is 600, you can skip about 15% of the questions, and if it's 500, you can skip the toughest 25%. The "College Hill SAT Study Plan" at the end of each practice test in this book provides you with a solid guide for building your game plan.
10. Take a "two-pass" approach. If you've built a smart game plan and practiced with it, you should have enough time to tackle all of your "must answer" questions, then take one more pass through them, checking for common mistakes. Once all of your "must answer" questions have been double-checked, you can approach the hardest questions carefully.
11. Shut out distractions. If you have a game plan and have practiced it, confidently shut out everyone else during the test. Don't speed up just because the girl next to you is racing through her test — ignore her. She's probably rushing because she's nervous. Stick to your game plan. Also, if you are easily distracted by noises around you like tapping pencils, sniffling testers, or clanking radiators, bring a pair of wax earplugs.
12. Watch the clock — but not too much. If you have taken enough practice SATs, you should go into the test with confidence in your ability to pace yourself. But for insurance, bring a silent stop watch (not one that beeps). Check it occasionally to make sure you're on pace.
13. Work briskly, but not carelessly. Don't get bogged down on tough questions: if you get stuck on a question, circle it on your test booklet (so you know where it is if you have time to come back to it later) and move on. (Make sure that you skip that space on your answer sheet as well!) On the other hand, rushing is never a good strategy. Optimize your score by working briskly enough to attack all of the questions you need to, but not so quickly that you make careless errors.
14. Don't worry about answer patterns. Some SAT takers refuse to make certain patterns on their answer sheet. For instance, they won't mark (C) — even if it's clearly the best answer — if they already have three (C)s in a row. Bad idea. Bottom line: always pick what you think is the best answer, regardless of any answer patterns.
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