SAT: strategies and advice

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Let's continue with some suggestions regarding the much feared SAT. The fundamental thing to always keep in mind when preparing and trying to take these tests is one: they do not measure a student's intelligence nor do they predict his/her future successes (or failures). And therefore, what is important to do is not gaining as much knowledge as possible or memorize entire textbooks, but trying to understand as much as possible how the exam works, how the scores are assigned and study to make the highest possible result in the different sections. 

So let's see some other simple tips that will orient you in the right direction.

  • If you don't know the correct answer, try to search for and eliminate the wrong ones.

It may happen that you do not know the answer to some of the questions, but if you manage to exclude the surely wrong options you will already have improved a lot your chances of choosing the correct answer. Going by exclusion in this case is the best solution: since there is no penalty for incorrect answers, it is always worth choosing an answer, even if you ar enot sure if it is the correct one.

Each question has 4 answers to choose from, even if only by elimination 1 or 2 chances you will have a 1 in 2 or 3 chance of finsing the correct one. If out of 9 questions that you don't know you manage to discard 1 of the answers and then randomly choose among the remaining ones, statistically you will guess 3 times and you will have earned 3 points, instead of 0.

Obviously this is not the rule for all type of exams, but as we said we must "specialize" to do the best possible in THIS test.

  • Let's take the time to correctly answer the questions you know.

It is true that the test is related to time and each section has a specific duration to be respected, but the scores are not assigned on how many answers are completed: the socre depends on how many correct answers you give. It is therefore essential to reflect well and try to answer the questions that you find simple or of medium difficulty as best as possible, and then, if you have very little time left, go for exclusion on those that you don't know (see previous point).

  • Let's identify and rank the questions in each section in order of difficulty.

The SAT questions do not follow one another in order of increasing difficulty (simpler questions and problems at the beginning, more difficult at the end), so you have to find in each section the question that are simple or complex for you. Once this distinction has been made, let's give mroe attention to the simple ones in which you think you can answer correctly and then move on to those that you find average difficult and finally to those that you just don't know.

Once the time is up and a section is closed, it is no longer possible to go back, but within the section you can better manage the minutes available to answer the questions. Remember that even if you finish the section before the deadline, you cen't start the next one, so you might as well spend all the time you have available to give as many correct answers as possible.

And we always remember that, as in all things, practice is your best friend. The more tests, excercises and simulations you do, the more you will be able to perfect the best strategies for you, those that will allow you to obtain the best possible score and open up new doors and opportunities.


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