While the SAT is not the only factor, it is an important part of your college application and admissions process. This test of endurance, knowledge, and skill is nothing to lose sleep over, but it is something to be mindful of and prepared for. If you have never taken the SAT before and you are curious about what it will be like, you can watch this test day simulator video by College Board. Once you have started the test, keep in mind some of these important things to ensure you do your best.
Do not think about the test during breaks.
The SAT will last almost four hours, and most of that is spent testing with short breaks in between sections. The breaks are quick, but it will help you lower your stress level if you try not to think about the test during the breaks. Take this time to decompress, use the restroom or eat a snack. Do not spend this time thinking about questions you had a hard time with or anticipating the difficulty of the remainder of the test.
You will not know the answer to every question, so skip it.
It is okay to admit that there will be some questions you do not know the answer to. It’s most important to perform at the best of your personal ability. If you hit a roadblock, don’t spend a ton of time on it. If you’ve already spent a minute looking at a math question and don’t know how to solve it, then you should skip it. You get less time per question on the reading and writing section, a good benchmark for these questions is thirty seconds, then hit skip.
Circle the questions you skip and come back to them at the end if you have extra time. Letting yourself get held up might keep you from getting easier questions later on that could earn you points.
Do not fall for the tricks.
There are some tricks in the way the SAT is formatted according to Ed Carroll, executive director of high school program development at the Princeton Review.“Rather than relying on complicated concepts or delving into trigonometry, the SAT math section will often try to trick students who don’t read each question carefully.” Carroll says that the tricks aren’t detailed but can be easily overlooked by students who aren’t paying attention to detail.
Have a healthy respect for the clock.
Don’t obsess over the time constraints – pace yourself and be time conscious. You do not want to be caught off guard when you hear “time’s up.” If you work at a good pace and are conscious about not spending too much time on one question, you will have a good chance of having enough time to complete each section.
Shut out anxious thoughts during the test.
This is of course much easier in theory than in practice. But it really is a good idea to try and shut out anxious thoughts and fears during the test. It is important to remember that even though some questions may intimidate you, it is best to concentrate on continuing to move forward in the test. If you feel your anxiety getting away with you, take a moment to focus on your breathing and nothing else to refocus.
Use any leftover time you have.
If you have a few minutes at the end of a section go back and check your answers. The test is tiring and this may seem like extra work, but careless mistakes are even worse and can be corrected simply by a quick recheck. Another use of this time is to make sure you filled out the answer sheet correctly and didn’t accidentally skip a question or bubble in the wrong answers.
Your previous education, studying and test prep classes are very beneficial as you prepare for the SAT. However, once the test starts, it is just you and your answers. We hope remembering these factors while you actually take the test will allow you to demonstrate your best self.