Learn the section directions now. Use the time saved during the test to work on questions.
- Answer easy questions first. Mark skipped questions in your exam book so you can quickly return to them later.
- Guess…if you can eliminate at least one choice.
- You can write in the test book: cross out wrong answers; do scratch work.
- Take care when filling in the answer grid for the student-produced response questions.
- Avoid stray marks on the answer sheet. A machine scores your test and can’t distinguish between a correct answer and a careless doodle.
- Easy questions usually precede hard ones.
- Mark only one answer per question.
- Skip any question if you haven’t the faintest idea about the answer. You don’t lose points.
- Understand the scoring! You get a point for a right answer. You lose a fractional point for a wrong answer. There is no deduction for omitted answers, or for wrong answers in the math section’s student-produced response questions.
- Keep checking that you are placing your answer in the correct section and number on the answer sheet.
- Don’t spend too much time on any one question. You should spend only seconds on the easiest questions, and hesitate to spend more than 1-2 minutes on even the hardest ones.
- Practice, practice, practice!
- Remember that the SAT consists of a series of small, timed, mini-tests. Keep track of the time you’re allotted for each one and how much time remains.
- Bring a watch to the test center. You can’t be guaranteed that there’ll be a working clock there.
- Don’t change an answer unless you’re sure you made an error.
- Read the words in the question carefully. Be sure to answer the question asked and not the question you recall from a practice test.
- Know the Question Types to Expect on the SAT I: * 19 sentence completion * 40 reading comprehension * 35 math multiple-choices * 10 student-produced responses
SPECIFIC SECTIONAL STRATEGIES
CRITICAL READING Section — SENTENCE COMPLETION:
- Before looking at the answers, try to complete the sentence with words that make sense to you.
- Don’t rush your selection. Consider all the answers to make the best choice.
- Use the context of nearby words to figure out unknown words.
- Don’t overlook the reversing effect of negative words (like not) or prefixes (like un-).
- If you’re really stuck for the meaning of a word, try to think of other words that have similar prefixes, roots, or suffixes.
- Eliminate choices in double-blank questions if the first word alone doesn’t make sense in the sentence.
- Let transition words (like although and likewise) help suggest the best answer.
CRITICAL READING Section — READING COMPREHENSION (Short and Long):
- You should base your answers to the questions solely on what is stated or implied in the passages.
- Read the italicized introductory text.
- Skip questions you don’t know. Return to them after answering other easier questions.
- First and last sentences of each paragraph are critical.
- Find the right spot in a passage by using any line reference numbers that appear in the questions.
- Answer questions on familiar topics before unfamiliar topics.
- Read the passages before reading the questions.
- Don’t waste time memorizing details.
- Passage content comes from the Humanities, Social Science, Science, and Literal Fiction.
- Some passages are presented in pairs. Read the brief introduction first to see how they relate.
- Spend more time on answering the questions than on reading the text.
WRITING Section — WRITTEN ESSAY:
- Write a short (about 250-300 words), persuasive essay on an assigned topic.
- Keep in mind the structure of an essay – 5 paragraphs consisting of an: Introduction, Body (about 3 paragraphs), Conclusion
- The alloted time frame is 25 minutes. Read the essay question quickly and think about the topic (about 5 minutes). Allow most of your time (about 15 minutes) to write the essay. Spend the remaining 5 minutes reviewing and editing your work.
- Introductory Paragraph should state the position that is being taken. It should also state about 3 points that support this position.
- The Body Paragraphs should expand the points that you present with specific detail and examples.
- The Concluding Paragraph should summarize your point of view by restating the thesis statement in a revised format.
- Keep your writting simple.
- Avoid wordiness.
- Avoid slang.
WRITING SECTION — MULTIPLE CHOICE:
- Think about the question before you answer it.
- Move around within a Section.
- Usage & Sentence Correction questions are based on individual sentences. They test basic grammar, sentence structure, and word choice.
- Paragraph Correction questions are based on 2 brief passages, with several questions per passage.
- Read the questions carefully.
MATH Section — STUDENT PRODUCED RESPONSE (GRID):
- Guess if you can’t figure it out. There is no penalty for wrong answers in this section.
- Negative numbers are not possible as answers in this section. If your answer comes up negative, do it again.
- You may begin to enter a short answer in any column. For instance, .6 can be entered in columns 1-2, or 2-3, or 3-4.
- If an answer is a repeating decimal (like .33333333), just enter as many decimals as will fit in the grid (.333).
- You may enter an equivalent decimal for a fraction as your answer, but why waste the time evaluating the fraction?
- Do not try to enter mixed numbers. For example, if your answer is 3 1/2, enter it as 3.5 or 7/2.
MATH Section – STANDARD MULTIPLE CHOICES:
- Read the question well. Be sure to select the best answer for the variable, value, or expression that is requested!
- Learn in advance all of the critical definitions, formulas, and concepts that appear in common questions.
- Remember to use the test booklet for scratch work, as well as for marking up any diagrams/graphs.
- Early questions in this section are easier. Spend less time on them.
- Don’t get carried away with detailed calculations. Look for a trick or a shortcut if the question seems time consuming.
- When a question contains a weird symbol, just substitute the accompanying definition when figuring out the best answer choice.