Sat Test Taking Tips For Teens

Outlines a few basic preparation and test-taking tips to help high school students taking the SAT test do their best.

Taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test can be one of the most stressful high school experiences for students in America these days, and it is certainly understandable why this would be. The test usually takes three or four hours to complete, and is a large determinant of where one can attend college. Messing up on the test or not giving it the best shot possible can have a huge negative impact on your immediate college plans. However, there are plenty of things that you can do to hopefully reduce the stress surrounding taking and preparing for the test, and get the best score you can.

A healthy amount of preparation in the months or weeks leading up to the SAT test can help shape your expectations of what the test will try and throw at you, and increase your confidence going into the examination. The best way to prepare is of course to take practice tests, and answer as many sample questions as you can and think you need. Your high school might have access to sample questions either given by the examination board, or questions from tests in years past. Students can also find many diagnostic exams and practice tests online or at a bookstore, either from the examination board themselves or from third party sources. While some of these third party tests and study guides are likely very helpful, especially some of the more reputable ones such as the Princeton Review, one must exercise consumer caution and not buy into the claims that some of them laud of being guaranteed to raise your score a certain number of points. The goal in taking these tests is not to necessarily build more knowledge of facts that might help on the test, but rather to get you acclimatized to the style in which questions on the test are asked, and how the various sections of the test are set up. Once you know what to expect, you should be much more confident about taking the test.

While actually taking the SAT, perhaps the most important thing is concentration. If you are focused on anything other than the test, it might slow down your progress, and you may not be able to finish some of the test sections in time. Therefore, try and make sure that you eat a big, healthy meal before you take the test; taking a test as long as the SAT on an empty stomach definitely runs the risk of resulting in lower test scores. Try and avoid any food or drink that is high enough in sugar or caffeine that it might cause you to be overly hyper-active and unable to focus during the test. And, of course, make sure that the night before the exam you get plenty of sleep, because trying to take the test while physically exhausted won't help either. Be sure you give yourself plenty of time to get moving and eat before the exam, so that you are completely awake by the time you get to the testing center.



If while taking the test you find yourself stuck on a certain question, a generally advisable strategy is to just move on past the question, and keep working. If you spend too long on one question you run the risk of not finishing the section in time, because you couldn't move past a specific section. Even if you do not end up getting an answer for that question by the time is up, it is better to have missed that one than to have missed many more. These tips are fairly rudimentary, but they should help give you a plan of action for taking the test. The most important thing factor in getting the best possible score, however, is experiencing practice tests so that you have a strong familiarity with the test format.

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