SAT Quick Tips

Here are some tips to help you succeed on the SAT!

General Tips:

  • Go to sleep early the night before the test, eat breakfast, and make sure to use the restroom before the exam (it’s a long test and you only get one ten-minute break during which you can use the restroom).
  • Pack your Admission Ticket, photo ID, non-mechanical pencils with erasers, scientific or graphing calculator, and snack the night before to avoid scrambling in the morning.
  • Know what to expect.
    • If you haven’t already, look through a practice SAT exam and understand the general directions of each section. Each section has 20-35 questions and you’re given ~25 minutes, so don’t waste your time reading directions during the SAT!
  • Each question is worth the same amount of points as the next regardless of type or difficulty. Do what you’re good at and limit your time on each question!
  • For each incorrect answer, you will be deducted ¼ of a point. What does this mean? Make educated guesses and use process of elimination. If you’re down to 2 answer choices, it’s better to take a guess!
  • For answers left blank, you will be deducted 0 points. Again, don’t randomly guess. If you’ve only eliminated one answer, it’s better to leave it blank.
  • NEVER EVER just sit there. If you have extra time, you should be checking over your responses.

Essay Section:

  • Carefully read and understand the prompt.
  • Don’t oversimplify. Completing the essay doesn’t mean you’ll score higher. The readers want to see that you’re an effective communicator! Two well-developed examples will get a higher score than an essay with three simplistic examples.
  • There’s nothing wrong with “I” and use examples meaningful to you.

Reading Section:

  • Passage-Based Reading:
    • Underline “hot words,” or words that indicate what the passage is about.
    • Important words include: although, however, if, but, since, etc.
    • Read the questions before you read the passage. This way, you know what to look for.
    • Use the number lines to refer back to the passage!
    • Choose passages wisely. If you see a shorter passage, complete that one and its questions first!
    • Vocabulary in Context: Determine the meanings of words from their context in the passage.
    • Literal Comprehension: Assess your understanding of significant information directly stated in the passage.
    • Extended Meaning: Measure your ability to analyze the passage (ex. usually theme, paradox, tone, analogy, etc.)
  • Sentence Completion:
    • Predict and plug in.
    • One word may fit, but that does not necessarily mean it is correct. Remember to read it again to make sure BOTH words fit.
  • Do sentence completion before passage-based reading questions!

Math Section:

  • Look at the units and answer choices before you try to solve.
  • With questions with an answer choice presented several times (Ex. A. 1 and 3, B. 2, C. 3, D. 4 and 3, E. 4 and 1) choose one to test that appears in multiple answer choices. This way, you eliminate several answer choices at once! (Continued Ex. – You can test 3 and if it is not the answer, you can eliminate A, C, and D)
  • Pick numbers if there is a theoretical situation.
    • Pick numbers that make sense according to the guidelines of the question.
    • Plug the numbers into the question.
    • Test the answer choices.
  • Back solving: Plug your answer choices back into your question.
    • Start with choice C because the answers are usually in order of greatest to lowest.
    • Eliminate if necessary.
    • Move up or down the answer choices accordingly.

Writing Section:

  • Types of Questions:
    • Improving Sentences Questions
    • Identifying Sentence Errors
    • Improving Paragraph Questions
  • The best way to approach these questions is to familiarize yourself with the types of writing errors that may be present. Click HERE to understand writing error. This will also help you write your essay more effectively!

Well, now you have the general tips! Here’s an ONLINE PRACTICE TEST. Good luck!


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