SAT Test Taking Strategies For Higher Scores

By Scott Fish on 7 September 23 Blog
How High School Students Can Prepare for College Writing

Developing an Effective Study Plan For The SAT

A well-defined study plan is instrumental in achieving your desired SAT score. Set a target score, take into account your current academic obligations, and then determine the number of hours you should dedicate each week leading up to your exam. Remember, the intent is not to cram, but to consistently build on your knowledge and skills. A goal-oriented approach will help keep you focused and motivated.

Implementing a diversified study approach is advantageous. A combination of regular coursework, challenging academic work, and high-quality skill-building activities will serve as strong pillars for your SAT preparation. This multifaceted approach allows for reinforcement of concepts and promotes long-term retention.

Additionally, students are encouraged to use Official Digital SAT Prep materials and other digital resources that are scheduled to be launched in spring 2024.  It’s an opportunity to acclimatize yourself to the format and gain valuable feedback on your practice tests.

SAT Test Taking Techniques for Different Sections

With the SAT being section adaptive, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the unique structure of the different sections. The Reading and Writing, and Math sections are divided into two modules – the difficulty of the questions in module 2 are dependent on your performance in module 1. However, within each module, you can navigate freely, reviewing and skipping questions as needed.

In the Reading and Writing section, develop a strategy for swiftly reading passages, fixing comprehension issues, and answering questions. In the Math section, where the entire section allows for calculator use, get comfortable with using on-screen calculators, and focus on strengthening your problem-solving skills.

Guessing Strategies: When to Guess and Not to Guess on the SAT

Guessing can sometimes be a beneficial tool in test-taking, but only when used wisely. The digital SAT uses adaptive testing, so the difficulty of the questions is adjusted based on your previous answers. Hence, if you are unsure, make an educated guess rather than skipping a question. However, avoid guessing wildly, as random guessing could negatively impact the difficulty level of subsequent questions.

Maintaining a Balanced, Healthy Lifestyle

While academic preparation is paramount, maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle during your study period is just as critical. Regular exercise, a wholesome diet, hygienic practices, and plenty of rest go a long way in maintaining your physical health and mental well-being. Avoid over-studying and remember to take breaks. Balanced living not only contributes to productivity but also boosts your confidence and readiness for the test.

Achieving success in the digital SAT is a marathon, not a sprint. By mapping out an effective study plan, leveraging available resources, developing techniques specific to the sections, knowing when to make educated guesses, and maintaining a balanced lifestyle, you’ll be well-equipped to take on the challenge. Remember, along with the skills you acquire, your confidence and determination will play a significant role in how you score on the new digital SAT.

Common Mistakes to Avoid Taking The SAT

Technical errors and how to avoid them

While the transition from traditional to digital SAT brings many benefits, including immediate scoring, enhanced security, and the flexibility of use of various approved digital devices, it also introduces a whole new set of potential technical errors. These errors might include software glitches, device compatibility issues, or misinterpretation of the digital test instructions.

One of the most significant steps to avoid such issues is familiarizing yourself with the Bluebook app which is the official testing app used for the digital SAT. This includes understanding how the adaptive testing feature of the app works, where the difficulty of the questions is adjusted based on your previous answers. Experimenting with the various tools the app provides, such as a timer, answer choice elimination, question flagging, and highlighting will also help in smooth navigation during the actual test.

It will also be beneficial to ensure the device you plan to use for the test, whether it’s a personal laptop, iPad, or a school-issued device, is compatible with the app and has the latest updates installed. Taking the practice exam through Bluebook will not only help you assess your academic readiness but will also give you a hands-on feel of the exam environment, thereby minimizing the odds of making a technical error.

Time mismanagement on the SAT

Even though the duration of the digital SAT is approximately two hours and 14 minutes, shorter than the traditional SAT, time mismanagement can still be a significant issue. This can be particularly challenging given the adaptive nature of the exam that adjusts the difficulty of the questions based on your performance.

One of the proven strategies to manage your time effectively is to start with a goal score. This should ideally be within the 25th and 75th percentile of SAT scores of the colleges you are aiming for. You can then calculate how many hours you’ll need to study to achieve this goal.

Additionally, practicing under timed conditions using the Bluebook app can help you better understand the pace you need to maintain throughout the test. Remember that while the new digital SAT allows you to skip questions and review previous ones, it only allows for navigation within the current module.

Not making use of the practice tests

Practice tests are an invaluable resource for SAT preparation, yet they are often underutilized. The Official Digital SAT Prep Tests help to develop high-quality skills and knowledge-building activities.   By not using these resources, one is not only missing out on improving their academic skills but also on an opportunity to understand the format of the test. Getting a baseline score from these practice tests can also help in setting a goal score and assessing improvement over time, ultimately guiding your overall study plan.

Ignoring the importance of breaks

Lastly, ignoring the importance of breaks is a common mistake students often make in the tight schedule of SAT prep. While the emphasis is often on rigorous studying and frequent practicing, it is important to understand that well-timed breaks are crucial for maintaining focus, reducing stress, and improving long-term information retention, all of which can significantly contribute to your success in the exam.

So, while you aim to excel at the new digital SAT, building a bullet-proof study plan, remember to include ample breaks. After all, it’s not just about hard work but also about working smart!

In the journey of preparing for the new digital SAT, the guidance and expertise of A+ Program can help you avoid these common mistakes and set you on the path towards academic excellence.