SAT Study Tips

Studying SAT

So you’re planning on taking the SAT and you’re not sure where to start.

The good news is that you’re not alone. And there are tons of resources our there to help you, including us! With some SAT test prep, you’ll be ready to tackle the exam and leave stress behind on test day.

Here are some brief study tips;


Understand the SAT Test Structure

You need to know what you’re dealing with so when you open the exam on test date you’re able to answer the questions immediately and focus less on the section notes. Here are the test basics:

  • There are three parts: Math, Critical Reading, and Writing
  • You can achieve a score of up to 800 per section; and up to 2400 in total.
  • For each multiple choice question you answer correctly you earn 1 point. For every wrong answer you lose 1/4th a point. For every blank or ommitted question you neither lose or gain a point (0).
  • Multiple choice questions have 5 possible choices.
  • The SAT takes about 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete. So be prepared for a mental drain.


Use your Time Effectively

Make sure you use your study time wisely. If you encounter a question you’re unable to answer or are unsure about answering make sure you figure out the solution. The SAT penalizes wrong answers. Make sure you mark questions you are unsure of when taking practice exams so you can refer back to them to answer.


SAT Questions are Designed to Trick You

There will be SAT question you encounter that are designed to trick you. These questions make sure you are a careful reader and if you fly through it you lose an opportunity to get a better score. So make sure every answer you select answers the question! And know that sometimes two answers might seem right, but it’s the most correct answer that is the one to choose.


Multiple Choice Tips

  • Eliminate wrong answers right from the start. Cross them off.
  • If the question is in response to a passage, read the question and answers first, then read the passage. Know what you’re looking for before reading.
  • If you are going to risk a guess, try to narrow down the choices.
  • If you’re unsure about a math section question, plug in your answer to see if it works.


Do Not Focus on the Essay

Essay writing isn’t a new skill to you. You’ve been writing since elementary school. Spending study time honing a skill you’ve been working on your entire academic life isn’t worth it.

Especially since essay graders will be grading you with a holistic approach, meaning they will look at your essay and give it one overall score. These grades want to see that you can organize your essay, make effective points, and tie it all together cleanly.  So as long as your essay follows a basic writing structure – introduction, body, and conclusion, you should do alright.


Try Studying in Groups

If you find you’re having trouble answering specific questions or keeping focus on actually studying sometimes it’s worth creating a study group. Take the exam together with others and then go over questions you didn’t understand together so that everyone learns for each others mistakes.