SAT Tips for the Upcoming Takers

Kiefer Kettenis, Staff Writer

Although some may argue that an SAT score is not an accurate representation of a student’s academic capabilities, the SAT is still widely considered among colleges when picking the applicants they want to accept into their respective schools. Some people feel like all hope is lost in the SAT department, whether they don’t feel confident in their literary or mathematical prowess or they struggle under the time crunch of the test. But fear not! Anyone can train themselves to succeed on the SAT. All it takes is a little time and effort.

The most useful tool for any prospective SAT taker is the SAT tab on Khan Academy. If you have taken a PSAT or previous SATs, you can upload your score reports from the College Board to Khan Academy to receive personalized materials based on the areas you struggled in. Khan Academy also allows for the creation of a study plan, where you can assign yourself a certain amount of practice each day to ensure continued study. 

Khan Academy is just as useful for those who have never even taken a PSAT, with resources for every conceivable challenge the SAT could present. If you consider yourself a weaker math student, spend more time delving into the math resources that you struggle with. Likewise, if you struggle with English, reviewing the reading and writing sections will be incredibly beneficial.

Increasing your familiarity with the material present on the SAT is the best way to improve your score, but there are also a few general test-taking tips that could also aid in your SAT conquests. When you are uncertain about the answer to a question, you will generally be able to eliminate at least one multiple-choice answer you are sure is incorrect. Every time you eliminate an answer choice you increase your odds of selecting the correct answer by 25%, no small amount. 

In the reading section, it can be helpful to markup the text and underline the quotes mentioned in questions for easier reference. Some people suggest reading the questions before the passages so you know what to look for, but this takes more time so slower test takers may want to veer away from this strategy. 

Lastly, coming prepared is a great way to improve your testing experience. Bring a calculator you are familiar with using and is approved by the College Board, plenty of backup pencils, and a water bottle to ensure you stay hydrated. Bring snacks if you see yourself getting hungry too; the more comfortable you are during the test the more successful you will be. 

Taking the SAT can be a stressful process, but going in prepared can make it feel just a little better. And if it doesn’t go so well, you can always study the things you struggled with and take it again.