The thought of writing a test that can determine your entire future can be daunting, to say the least. Believe it or not, though, the SAT, or Standardized Aptitude Test, is something that anyone can ace, with the right preparation. The questions are not worded to trick you, but you have to know what to look for and how to approach each section. There are three parts to an SAT: Writing, critical thinking and math, and each one is worth 800 points. Each section has its own clues and patterns as to how to answer them.
- Tip #1: Study! Yes, this seems quite obvious, but all of those study habits you developed in elementary and high school will come in quite handy. Break up sections and topics into chunks, and study each night. Don’t overload your brain, as this could cause you to forget everything once the SAT papers are in front of you. This is definitely not something you cram for. There are also plenty of online practice tests that will help you study. Most of these are available at no charge.
This is the essay portion of the test and with a bit of practice, you can do quite well here, even if you don’t think writing is your strong suit.
- Tip #2: Treat writing an essay like following a formula. Be prompt – pick a side (this will become the thesis of your paper) – add 2 or 3 specific examples – expand – sum it up. Make sure your essay flows nicely and communicates clearly on what your point of view is.
Just as you skim over your Facebook messages and notifications, you can quickly read through each question in this section. In fact, if you take too long, you’ll run out of time.
- Tip #3: Many questions will ask about specific lines in a passage. Go back and read those lines only (plus the five above and the five below for context clues). This will save you an enormous amount of time. You can also look for online resources to build your vocabulary so you will know what the words mean in the passages! Make a goal to learn five new words a day.
Would it surprise you to know that you don’t really have to finish this section in order to ace your SAT? It’s true! Considering that each incorrect answer deducts points, it may actually be in your best interest not to attempt the more difficult questions. You don’t have to invent a new formula for calculus or create an equation for a jet engine. This is simply a test of your high school level math skills.
- Tip #4: This section is organized into three parts; the questions transition from easy to medium to difficult. If math is not your strong suit, complete the easier questions at the beginning and middle. If you don’t want to risk getting any deductions, don’t attempt the more difficult questions.
Acing an SAT takes practice and strategy. If you follow the above tips, you’ll be well on your way to not only acing the test but securing your scholarship.
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