SAT Test Taking Tips

The SAT is one of the most important tests students will face in their high school career. Scoring well on the SAT can help students gain admittance to the college of their choice, and is a key component in the success of any college education. As an aptitude test, the SAT can be difficult to study for as there are no rhetorical questions to be addressed. Memorizing the dates of the Spanish Revolution isn't going to help you on this exam. But there are ways of preparing for the SAT. Sample tests and practice questions will get you familiar with the kinds of questions you will be facing. In addition to improving your score on the SAT, there are things you can do to prepare for the rigors of the test itself.

Let's take a moment or two to look at the SAT, and discuss some tips on maximizing your test performance.

sat tests

Take the PSAT

One of the best ways for students to gauge their performance on the SAT is by taking the Preliminary SAT. The PSAT offers students the chance to familiarize themselves with the types of questions that will be included on the SAT, the format of the test itself and the time constraints associated with the exam. For students who are susceptible to test anxiety, the PSAT provides a sort of test run, allowing them to get a hands on feel for the test and the testing environment.

Once students have taken the PSAT, they can review their scores and work with their high school teachers and counselors to improve their skills in any areas of the test in which they performed poorly. Students who are unhappy with their PSAT scores, may want to consider some of the online study guides and sample questions to help them better prepare for the SAT itself.

Are There Free SAT Practice Study Guides & Exams?

Studying for the SAT can be problematical. The test is designed to gauge a student's aptitude and ability to think logically, consequently there are no set questions and answers that can be learned or memorized. However, students can prepare themselves by answering practice questions, and by taking practice tests, provided by the College Board, the official administers of the SAT testing program. These sample questions and tests are similar to what will be found on the official SAT, and can give students a good idea of what to expect come testing time.

Know Where You're Going

Preparing for the SAT goes beyond studying for the exam. It is important to prepare yourself for exam day itself. Make a note of the scheduled date of the SAT, and of where the test is being held. If you are unfamiliar with the location, locate precise directions and be certain that you know how to get to the testing place. Plan on arriving at least 30 minutes before the test is set to start to give yourself time to check in, get seated and be ready to begin the exam.

Get a Good Night's Sleep

If you have prepared for the SAT the best thing you can do the night before the exam is to get to bed early and get a good night's sleep. If you are unprepared, no amount of late night cramming is going to significantly improve your score. You will definitely benefit from being well rested and clear headed when the testing procedure begins.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Make a point of eating a light, but healthy breakfast on the morning of the test. You will need fuel to keep you alert and on point throughout the exam, so don't skip the most important meal of the day. Try to avoid a heavy breakfast, as this can result in fatigue as the morning progresses. Eat light and sensibly and you will be ready to tackle the SAT.

Go to the Bathroom Before the Test

As indelicate as it may sound, be sure to go to the bathroom before the exam starts. A full bladder during a timed test is a huge distraction, and a bathroom break uses up valuable time. Remember, the SAT is a timed test, and the proctors do not make allowances for the students who need to use the restroom.

Don't Leave Anything Unanswered

Unlike most tests you will face in high school, the SAT does not penalize you for wrong answers. You are awarded points for every question you answer correctly, so be sure to answer all of the questions on the test. Even if you feel you have to guess, do so. Leave no question unanswered.

Go for the Easy Ones First

As you work your way through the exam, skip any questions that you find difficult. Concentrate on the questions you know the answers to first, and return to any unanswered questions later. While you want to answer every question on the SAT, you don't want to waste valuable time puzzling out an answer to a question that has you stymied while there are three questions waiting that you know off the top of your head. Prioritize, and finish the questions you know first. If necessary, you can return to the questions you didn't know the answers to and at least make an educated guess.

Don't Lose Track of Time

The SAT is a timed exam, with 25 minutes allotted to each section of the test. It is important that you are aware of the passage of time. Pay attention to the clock, and listen for the proctors when they announce the upcoming intervals. The proctors will make an announcement when there is five minutes left to the current section, so be prepared to finish your worksheet and wrap things up quickly.