Quick Tips and Strategies for the SAT
Ok! Final SAT of the school year this Saturday. Let’s go through the checklist of things that must be put together for the test. For those who are old pros at taking it, you can ignore. I always suggest in order to make the check-in go smoothly to have a big baggy (gallon size) packed with what you need to bring. A baggy is clear and no cause for security challenges. Many in large urban public schools have to go through security before they allowed into the test. Make it easier for all, bring a baggy, and LEAVE YOUR PHONES at home or in your car.
Some sites have someone outside the building warning all to leave the phones out of the test site. I have had 3 students in the past 2 years kicked out of the test because their phones went off-even on vibrate, the phone is heard. If you put it in airplane mode, you might be able to keep it. But you can’t check it during breaks at all. Why risk having your scores canceled and being kicked out the test, leave your phone at home!
Now in your baggy pack:
- 3-Ticonderoga or other REGULAR Number 2 pencils. It says on the top of the bubble sheet not to use a mechanical pencil. This is not the time to be challenging anything.
- A small hand sharper, if you have one is nice to have, just in case.
- 1-extra small eraser, just in case.
- Your ADMISSION TICKET! You will not be allowed into the test without it. You will receive, or whoever’s email is on the account will, get an email with the link to your admission ticket this week
- A Photo ID-the ID, if it has an address should match the address on the admission ticket. The name must also match. If for some reason the address is different, such as with divorced parents or you moved, have your parent or guardian with you to vouch should there be a problem. If there is some question, contact the College Board NOW to check if you will be turned away (866) 756-7346 in the US
- Calculator and extra batteries! If you are using a Texas Instruments’ calculator, you need 4 Triple A batteries…so pack the extras.
- A watch that makes NO noise. Always good to know how to pace. I always recommend that the minute you turn to a section; look at the time for the section; look at your watch and write the stop time above the STOP sign on the last page of the section.
- Snacks –best snacks are sugar and caffeine! So YES to chocolate…not huge bags of food but some snacks is recommended especially during the last break you have
- A Clear labeled Water bottle-NO PAPER LABELS!! No bring your own gym bottle either. Bring a clear labeled bottle. Poland Spring’s sport cap has a clear label. Smart Water or Fiji waters all have the label embedded in the bottle.
That’s it! Have that in the baggy by Friday afternoon, put is next to the door, and you are good to go!
Now onto some tips that might help boost your score:
- If you have NO idea what to do with a question, skip it! Yes, you can skip and you should
- Remember that the Math, Sentence Completion (vocabulary questions in reading), Improving Sentences, Error ID questions are listing in order of difficulty. So the questions get harder. If you think you know without even working, re-read it if it is difficult. Often the obvious answers are not correct. Slow down, get the easy and medium questions correct and if you run out of time on the difficult ones, you are better off.
- When you are stuck, skip the question and come back to it.
- Skip the short reading passages in favor of the long passages first. Read the questions first, and do the line referenced questions by reading paragraph by paragraph first. Save questions on the whole passage until you have read the entire passage. Yes, read the entire passage but just answer the questions you can paragraph by paragraph by reading the questions firsts. Shorter passages have harder questions that take longer. Save to the end!
- The 18 Question Math section –always look at the number of questions at the top of the first page of section. Know when you are in the Grid In section, which is the only section with 18 questions. Start with the Grid-Ins as there is NO error penalty taken. Wrong is the same as blank in this part of the test.
- NEVER EVER randomly guess! Leave the question blank. ALWAYS try to eliminate wrong answers first. Down to the 50/50? RE-READ the question before guessing!
- In the Grammar multiple choice sections, on Improving Sentences, when down to 2, be sure to re-read the sentence and put the answer you think you are choosing back in, you might pick the other!
- Do not get bogged down on what you do not know, work on what you do! AND REMEMBER DO NOT STOP IN A SECTION UNTIL YOU SEE THE STOP SIGN!!!!