Understanding the SAT Before Test Day

There is a man who has taken the SAT 25 times over the past year. The reason? He looks for trends, analyzes questions, reverse engineers the problems, and simply tries to find out what makes the SAT tick.

understanding the SAT
Okay, so he’s probably not studying for the SAT…

For most, taking the test that many times would be a nightmare. For this gentleman, it is his job because he does research and development for test prep. He admits he was not always the best student in regards to organization and long-term planning, but now this is what he encourages students to do because that is exactly what is needed to ace the SAT. Now this man’s career rests in teaching students how they can beat the test.

Growing Your Bag of Tricks

The bag of tricks is rather limited on the SAT, but it is even more limited when you don’t prepare. According to the gentleman who knows the test inside and out, he says that the same types of math questions appear each year, the same five or six major grammar rules are covered, and there are some vocabulary words that pop up consistently. This means that it is possible for students to prepare for the SAT and that means thinking like the test in the following ways:

  • The test is consistent – Because the SAT is consistent, practice is going to pay off. The reason why it is consistent is because the scope of the parameters that can be covered is limited. This means that you do not necessarily have to know the answer to the question, but you simply need to know where to start.
  • Organize time in the math section – A majority of your time on the math section should be spent on the first 15 questions. The problems are always organized from the easiest ones to the hardest ones. If the easy ones are done perfectly, then the score can be better. Although the last 5 questions tend to be the hardest, they are worth the same number of points as the easy ones.
  • Hone in on the simple grammar questions – If you practice, then you will be able to identify how questions are phrased. You’ll also notice that the SAT loves to test subject verb agreement.
  • The essay section is not scary – Students tend to despise this section. Understanding how it is scored will help you relax so you can get a better score. For instance, structure is the most important. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar don’t carry as much weight as structure. Because you only have 25 minutes to finish, perfection is never expected. What they are looking for is a clear answer, organization, and support to each question.

It is also important for you to understand how the test is scored so you can use that to your advantage and to make sure you fuel up for the test. This is a test that can take a total of 6 hours, so get some sleep, eat breakfast, and arrive on-time so you can be relaxed and prepared.

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