As a senior student, you will have to take and pass dozens of tests on your last year of high school or secondary school. But one of the most important exams you need to take and pass is the SAT. This is because your SAT score will have a direct impact on all your plans after high school including your choice of college or university, course, and scholarship eligibility.
Attending regular SAT test prep classes and reviewing well for the exam are great ways to ensure you will get a high score. However, following other relatively unknown tips and tricks will also help you prepare better and boost your confidence that will allow you to perform better on your test.
Below are some of the most important additional tips and tricks you need to keep in mind when preparing for the SAT:
1. Start reading more nonfiction materials
SAT has several sections designed to test your reading skills. You will have to read and understand long and dense paragraphs in an hour.
However, you don’t have to worry too much about the questions at the end of each text. Experts say they are relatively straightforward and easy to answer. But if there’s one thing you should worry about the reading part, it should be about your brain running out of energy when you get to this section.
To prepare well for this part of the SAT, read lots of nonfiction books and other forms of literature as part of your test preparation routine. This is because there is a high chance that majority of the passages you will read will be nonfiction.
A typical high school reading curriculum tends to lean mostly towards fiction. To prepare your brain for reading nonfiction passages, read newspapers, magazines, or the biography of a popular politician or important historical figures.
By reading a lot of nonfiction before exam day, your brain will be primed for reading fact-based text in the test and won’t get exhausted or bored easily.
2. Practice using the calculator you will bring to the actual exam
To maximize your efficiency on the actual SAT test day, make sure you bring a calculator you are familiar with. This means using only one calculator during your review classes, practice tests, and on the exam day.
When you follow this tip, you will know how to use the functions you will most likely to encounter on the SAT test. You won’t have to waste time pressing different functions to solve certain equations.
In addition, practice jotting down the steps or functions you used on your calculator on paper. This way, if you get an answer that is not among the options, you can follow the same steps, know quickly where you went wrong, and try to get the right answer on your second try.
Lastly, replace the batteries of your calculator a day before the exam and check if it is working properly and if it is ready for use.
3. Be an expert in mental math
There is a math section on the SAT wherein you won’t be allowed to use a calculator. You will save a lot of time doing equations with your pencil by knowing the basic mental math skills.
These include knowing the multiplication tables from 1 x 1 to 9 x 9 by heart. You also have to know the most used tricks for dividing and adding large numbers and finding the percentage of numbers.
In case you won’t be taught these tricks in school or in your review classes, go online to learn them.
4. Know and practice the most useful test-taking strategies
When reviewing for the SAT, make sure you know the best, most effective test-taking strategies which you should apply on the actual exam day.
- Using the process of elimination to choose the best answer if you are stuck on a question
- Not leaving any questions blank
- Answering the easy questions first before proceeding to the harder ones on the math test
- Answering questions as you take the writing and language test
5. Don’t overstudy
Lastly, although you really want to get a high score on your SAT, you shouldn’t spend more than three hours studying per day. This can lead to a brain overload. In addition, you will end up overworking your brain which will leave you feeling mentally exhausted.
As such, don’t forget to take frequent breaks whenever you study on your own. This will allow you to let the information sink in and give your brain the rest it needs. Aside from eating a snack during these breaks, consider playing your favorite sport for 15 to 30 minutes since this will help you focus and retain information better when you resume studying.
Although these tips and tricks are easy to follow, don’t make the mistake of ignoring them. They will go a long way in helping you ace your SAT exam.
Maloy Burman is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Premier Genie FZ LLC. He is responsible for driving Premier Genie into a leadership position in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education space in Asia, Middle East and Africa and building a solid brand value. Premier Genie is currently running 5 centers in Dubai and 5 centers in India with a goal to multiply that over the next 5 years.