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The SATs are this Saturday, and no matter how much cramming you do, there’s only so much you can cram in. The best strategy for taking the SAT is to prepare weeks, if not months in advance, and of course, learn everything you can in the classroom.
Still, there are a few same-day strategies that can help improve your SAT score.
5 Last-Minute Tips for Taking the SATs
1. Process of Elimination. Eliminate obviously wrong answers first,. i.e. the Empire State Building is in C. Atlantis.
2. Don’t Second-Guess. Usually your first answer is correct. Don’t go back and change answers unless you’re absolutely sure it’s wrong.
3. Leave Answers Blank. The SAT penalizes you a 1/4 point for each wrong answer. If you don’t know, don’t guess. You get more points for getting half right than a quarter wrong.
4. Easy Questions Come First. Questions are arranged from easiest to most difficult in each section of the SAT. Don’t think an answer is too obvious in the beginning of a section, but realize that the further along you go, the more likely an obvious answer is to be wrong.
5. Slow Down. You’re not expected to answer every question; just as many as you can. Maintaining a manageable pace ensures greater accuracy. Remember, the SATs penalize you for wrong answers. Don’t make that mistake!
The good news is that these tips are good advice for improving your score on the PSAT and SAT II Subject Tests, as well. The bad news is that they don’t all work on the ACT. The ACT doesn’t penalize you for wrong answers, so there’s no penalty for guessing.
How Important Is My SAT Score?
Students worry about what their SAT (or ACT) score means for college admissions and their future prospects. Should they work hard to boost their score or simply rely on what they’ve learned in class? Consider these facts:
· According to NACAC (the National Association of College Admissions Counseling) admissions deans list your entrance exam score as the third most important factor in determining your admission to that school. More than 58% list it as “very important.”
· The average SAT score for a college graduate is 1721. The average SAT score or the college dropout? 1599.
· Even SAT optional schools will use your scores to consider admissions if you submit them. If you get a good score, send it in. If not, no harm done.
· Good SAT prep and test scores improve your college performance. 65% of students who got at least a 1550 on the SAT had a GPA above 2.7.
· Students from low-income families have a score roughly 400 points below that of students from high-income families, making them less likely to graduate college or get into selective private colleges that have good (even great!) financial aid
The SAT is not an all-powerful determinant of college admissions, but it is an important factor in determining college success. If you haven’t studied hard enough over the past few weeks or months, perhaps these short-term SAT tips can boost your score a little bit. If they don’t boost them enough, take the test again a few months from now.
Just make sure you study in advance.*
*We’ll explore long-term SAT study tips and ACT test-taking tips in future posts. Good luck this weekend!
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