Time-tested tips for the SAT

By Bradley Everett, Special to UnionvilleTimes.com

Everyone has his or her own test-taking strategies.  Some of them work, like making sure you get a good night’s sleep the night before, and some…don’t work, like wearing your lucky t-shirt.  So here are some great tips that have been proven to work on the SAT.

The SAT is comprised of 3 sections, which are reading, writing, and mathematics.  There are certain ways to approach each particular section, but these are some general strategies that can be used throughout the whole test.

First of all, just RELAX.  The more worked up you are about getting a good score, the more likely you will be to NOT get a good score.  There is no reason to panic; you can always take the test again if you don’t score as high as you would have liked.  Stay relaxed so that you can read and think carefully.  You know the content, so stay focused!

It’s okay to write in your test booklet as scratch paper.  The graders will not look at anything but the answer bubbles.  Make sure you mark any questions you may have skipped so you can go back to them later.  If you do skip questions, however, pay close attention to your answer sheet.  One of the most frustrating, and time consuming, things that can happen during a test is realize that you have been filling in the wrong answer bubbles and then have to go all the way back!  And while we’re on the topic of skipping questions…if you can’t eliminate any of the answer choices, it’s not worth guessing if you have no clue.  No points are deducted for not answering a question.

This may seem like an obvious tip, but answer the question that is being asked!  Reading carefully will ensure you aren’t falling for any of the SAT’s tricks.  The College Board knows how high schoolers’ minds work, and will do what it can to stump them.

And lastly, but certainly not least (we can go on all day!) CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!  An answer choice may seem correct on the fly, but on a closer, second look, you may catch something not seen the first time through.

There are plenty more test-taking strategies that The Thinking Cap recommends.  However, we can’t give away ALL of our good information, so please call us (484-899-8003).  We’ve taken the SAT ourselves, and we’ve seen what works.    And stay tuned, because next month we will be featuring some more helpful hints!


Bradley Everett founded Unionville-based The Thinking Cap in 2007 to help local students achieve their academic goals. He received a degree in Applied Mathematics from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.  He has spent the majority of his career in the investment industry, beginning on the advisory and retail side before turning to analyst and research roles.  He has completed all three testing levels of the Chartered Financial Analyst program.  His unique background has helped to provide equally unique methods to help students in all levels of mathematics.

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