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Top 5 Tips for SAT Exam Success

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While nothing can replace solid test preparation for the SAT exam, there are certain strategies that can help increase test performance. Understanding the layout of the exam and how the scoring works can help you make smart decisions in managing your time in order to boost those scores. There is definitely an art to taking standardized tests, and it’s always good practice to prepare yourself ahead of test day so you know the best strategies to follow. Here are the top 5 tips for SAT exam success.

  1. Read questions carefully. While this advice may seem obvious, by taking a few extra minutes to make sure you really understand each question, you can easily improve your score. Given that each section is timed, rushing may seem prudent, but in the end, misinterpreting questions inevitably leads to wrong answers. Remember, some of the questions on the SAT exam are designed to deliberately mislead you.
  2. Understand how the test is structured. In each section of the SAT exam, questions become more difficult as you proceed. However, all questions are weighted the same, so you want to be sure you get those questions of easy to medium difficulty correct! Rather than struggling through the last few difficult questions, your time may be better spent reviewing previous answers for accuracy.
  3. Avoid random guesswork. It’s important you understand that the way scoring for the SAT works is that you are penalized for incorrect answers. Therefore, random guessing in an attempt to hit on correct answers will only hurt your score. If you have absolutely no idea how to answer a question, you may be better off skipping it and spending your time elsewhere. However, if you can eliminate some of the choices, then making an educated guess where your odds are significantly better is probably your best bet.
  4. Use the process of elimination. A great approach to multiple-choice questions on the SAT exam is to use the process of elimination. Start by eliminating the one choice that is clearly wrong. Then keep a lookout for those tricky answers the SAT is known for, those that seem correct but upon closer examination are clearly wrong.
  5. Manage your time wisely. As you take the SAT exam, be sure to keep track of your time. This may seem obvious, but you’ll be able to work much more effectively if you can pace yourself as you go. Also, avoid time wasters like having to reread directions or arriving late back from a break.

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