Some of the most successful SAT takers say that self-awareness contributed to their success on what is considered one of the most difficult tests a young person can take. The SAT is not just about answering questions; it is about using strategy and common sense. When using self-awareness techniques, you can identify habits that don’t work, as well as those that do so you can get the highest possible score on the test.
With that said, it is through practice that you will learn what your habits are. You will learn about your tendencies, what it takes to grasp vocabulary words, and why you make certain mistakes. It makes sense to practice to the point you don’t make avoidable mistakes, but identifying why you make them will make your avoidance much more successful.
Know Your Tendencies
Before you do anything, know what your tendencies are. That moment of self-evaluation is going to be priceless to you because you will know your test taking habits and can make changes before test day. Take practice tests and evaluate your right and wrong answers. Notice what you got wrong so you can see what mistakes you tend to make. This little bit of information will serve as a useful guide to you. For instance, you may find that you overthink, overanalyze, or make assumptions when answering critical reading questions. Try to train yourself not to do that because you can actually think yourself out of the right answer. Other tips include:
- Drill some vocabulary and make notes of the words that you tend to miss. Try to figure out why you miss them and rectify the issue.
- Reduce the number of “silly” mistakes that you make. These mistakes include not completely reading the question, answering in the wrong line, computational errors, and misreading the answer choices. Silly mistakes come in different forms, so look at the types of silly mistakes that you tend to make and be vigilant when taking the test. Don’t be paranoid, just be aware.
- Practice especially hard at what you are bad at. This is an annoying thing to many students, but it is true. Practicing at what you’re good at can make you better, but so can practicing at what you’re bad at. Use your practice tests to determine your weaknesses and focus on them.
Many students who have scored upward of 2350 on the SAT will tell you that they did so by studying and knowing themselves. They tend to be the ones who don’t ask themselves why they made certain mistakes after they take the test. Instead, they give themselves pats on their backs for achieving the desired score.
Image source: The Practicing Mind