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General SAT Strategy, Part 1: Taking the Test

  • Pace yourself. Don't spend too much time on any one question: you get the same number of points whether it's hard or easy.
  • Skip questions that you find difficult. If a question will take you a long time to figure out, skip it, then come back after you've done the others.
  • Write in your test booklet. It helps you solve difficult questions, keeps you engaged, and let's you know what to come back to later.
  • Once you learn the instructions to the test, don't waste time reading them on future tests. They're always the same instructions, so you only need to read them the first time.
  • Wear a watch and pay attention to the time. Since pacing is so important to taking the test, you need to constantly be aware of the time.
  • In general, question difficulty increases the farther you get in a section (or in a sub-section, if the section is broken into parts). This means you should budget more time for questions at the end of a section and be more prepared to skip them.
  • If you can eliminate at least one choice (you almost always can), it's worth it to guess. The more you can eliminate before guessing, the better.
  • Sometimes it can help to set a "goal score". Figure out what a reasonable goal is for you, then look up what kind of raw score you need. Use this information to help you figure out how many questions you can completely skip.
  • If you're studying far in advance (6 months or more), look into the "Question-and-Answer Service". If you order it, they'll send you a copy of the test, the correct answers, and what you put down. This can be useful for figuring out what you need to practice.

General SAT Strategy, Part 1: Taking the Test

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Disclaimer 0:32
  • A Common Misconception 0:42
    • Your Goal is to Get the Highest Score You Can
  • Pacing 1:19
    • Every Problem is Worth the Same Number of Points
  • Skipping Questions 2:47
    • You Should Skip Questions
  • Writing in the Test Booklet 3:31
    • Cross Out Wrong Answers, Take Notes, Work in Margins
  • Instructions - Who Needs 'Em? 4:49
  • Pay Attention to the Time 5:42
    • Clocks
    • Watch
  • Increasing Difficulty 6:31
    • Exception: Reading Comprehension Section is Not Ordered by Difficulty
    • Budget Less Time for Questions at the Start of a Section
    • Be Prepared to Skip Questions
  • Guessing 9:09
    • Why Blindly Guessing Will Not Help Your Score
  • Educated Guessing 10:39
    • How This is Beneficial
    • You'll Almost Always See a Wrong Answer Right Away
  • Eliminating Wrong Choices 13:08
    • Some Questions, It's Easier to Find the Four Wrong Choices than to Look for the Correct Answer
    • If You're Unsure, You Can Make an Educated Guess
  • Last Couple Minutes 15:16
    • Do Easy Questions You See
  • Finishing with Extra Time 17:07
    • Cannot Go Back to Other Sections
  • Goal Scores 18:58
    • Example
    • Example: You Have 11 Freebie Questions to Skip
  • Questions and Answer Service (QAS) 21:14
    • What Is QAS
    • Only Offered a Few Times Each Year