5 Great SAT Tips – What to Expect on Test Day

1. Start Preparing Early

To get the most out of SAT prep, you should start early. In fact, many National Merit Scholars-who usually score above 2100 on the SAT-begin preparing for the PSAT and SAT the summer before they become sophomores so they can make the most of the PSAT they have the option to take that year. Don’t start wondering whether or not third-order polynomials will be included in the math section the week before. Create a plan! If you need more structure or guidance, consider SAT prep classes, private tutoring, or an online course.

2. Dress Well

Think about this: the thermostat at the testing center on the morning of the test is likely to be set by someone just as groggy as you. You don’t want to trust them with your comfort-and shivering while you bubble is a sure way to “make a stray mark.” Avoid this by dressing in layers of comfortable clothing so you can adjust to your surroundings easily.

3. Be On Time

The College Board is not happy when you’re late to an SAT. To them, late is showing up after they’ve closed the doors to the testing rooms-between 8:30 and 9:00 am. In fact, their official policy states that late students will not be admitted to the testing center and will have to reschedule to take the test. Of course, there is a $24 fee for that. It’s fine if you don’t want to reschedule, but the fee you paid to take the test is nonrefundable. That’s $47 gone to waste. How do you make sure this doesn’t happen to you? Show up before 7:45 am, as the College Board recommends. A few days before the test, map out a route to your testing center and make sure you’re familiar with it. If you’re particularly bad with directions, you might want to practice getting there-just think of it as another thing to study.

4. You Are Getting Very Sleepy…

Falling asleep during the SAT: fail. You could nap during one of the five-minute breaks you get, but we doubt it would do you any good. Instead, be sure to get a good night’s sleep before the SAT. Caffeine in the morning-be it coffee or an energy drink-might be a good idea, but if you should avoid it if you aren’t accustomed to it. Too much caffeine can lead to jitters and, ironically enough, difficulty concentrating.

5. Oops! I Did It Again…

If you mess up, don’t worry: In 2009, the College Board introduced Score Choice, which allows you to select which test scores you want to send to a college on your score report. It is an optional service; if you do not elect to use it, all of your scores will be included on your score reports. Though it allows you to not disclose poor scores to the schools when applying, you should check your institution’s policy on SAT score reporting-often it is helpful to report all of your scores.

SAT Tips – 5 More Awesome SAT Tips

The SAT is a challenging experience. Read this article to find 5 great tips to help you prepare for the SAT!

1. Don’t Cram

Alright, so it’s Friday night and you’re taking the SAT tomorrow: it’s time to get an energy drink and crack open the prep book you bought four months ago, right? Wrong. Studies have shown that cramming is not an effective way of preparing. Not only will you end up groggy and unhappy while you’re taking the SAT, odds are you won’t be able to remember what you studied last night. Lots of practice is also the best way to beat test anxiety. After all, if you’ve taken ten or fifteen practice tests, you’ll know what to expect on the real thing. Begin preparing well in advance and practice a lot!

2. Practice Like It’s the Real Thing

While reviewing the material that will be on the SAT is definitely helpful, you want to remember to take real, timed SATs for practice as well. Doing so will help you get a sense for how the SAT is laid out and how much time you need per section. You will also become more accustomed to performing well under pressure. The College Board offers a book, The Official SAT Study Guide, 2nd edition, which contains ten official SAT exams for you to practice on. To get the most out of your practice, you should have access to detailed solutions, like the ones found in Test Masters Complete Solutions to the SAT Study Guide. These solutions are not available in the College Board’s book and help you pinpoint your weaknesses to prepare better for the SAT.

3. Are We There Yet?

The week leading up to the SAT is stressful, but you should take time to map out a route to your testing center ahead of time. This helps ensure you get to your test on time and with a minimum of stress. Remember that construction and other changes don’t always show up on most online maps.

4. License and Registration, Please

Remember that you must take valid identification with you the morning of the SAT. According to the College Board, your ID must be current, have a photo of you, have your name on it in English, and match the name on your Admission Ticket. This includes driver’s licenses, state-issued IDs, school IDs, valid passports, or a student ID form prepared by your school. They will not accept social security cards, credit cards, birth certificates, expired passports, or a yearbook. You should organize all the stuff you’re taking to the test the night before and enjoy a stress-free morning before the test.

5. Know the Section Instructions

When do you think the right time to read the SAT instructions are? Is it in a chilly classroom at an uncomfortable desk with the clock ticking? Nope! You should have the instructions understood before you even set foot in a testing center. Review them when you take practice tests and soon they’ll be second nature. The reward for your efforts? More time to spend actually answering questions.

ACT Or SAT? Five Tips to Pick the Right College Entrance Exam

The SAT and ACT are both respected, nationally-recognized tests. Historically, there’s been a geographic divide between the two; nowadays, very few colleges require or prefer one test over the other. So which one should you take? Well, since you can’t really say one test is any easier than the other, that all depends on your skills and preferences. Basically, you should go for the one you’ll score higher on!

Here are some tips to help you make your decision:

1. Who says size doesn’t matter?

The ACT is a shorter test. The SAT takes a whopping 3 hours, 45 minutes, while the ACT comes out to a hefty 2 hours, 55 minutes, making the SAT about 30% longer than the ACT. Either way, you’re stuck taking a long test. If you have a ridiculously short attention span, then the ACT might be right for you, but realistically, after nearly 3 hours, why sweat an extra 50 minutes?

2. When in doubt, just guess… right?

The SAT has a guessing penalty – minus a quarter of a point for each incorrect response. Not so with the ACT. Guess away! So you should answer every question on the ACT, but on the SAT, you should just leave the answer blank when you can’t eliminate at least one answer choice. Does this make the SAT “harder”? Not really. With the right strategies, you can even make the SAT’s guessing penalty work to your advantage.

3. It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s superscore!

The SAT reports each of your three “subscores” separately-one each for critical reading, writing, and mathematics. So, many colleges will combine your best three subscores from all the times you’ve taken the SAT to make a “superscore.” In the past, schools would not do this with the ACT. Recently, however, many schools have begun to make ACT “superscores” too.

4. What is the difference anyway?

Both tests have a grammar, reading comprehension, essay and math portions. The ACT has an extra “science” section, but don’t worry. I used quotes because it’s really just another test of your reasoning skills – not much chemistry, physics or biology knowledge needed. Broadly speaking, the ACT tests skills that you (should have) learned in high school, while the SAT tries to evaluate your innate problem-solving abilities.

For example, the ACT math section tests a few topics that typically aren’t covered until pre-calculus. While the SAT leaves out these topics, its math problems generally have more complicated setups.

The ACT’s essay is optional, but some colleges require it anyway. Its essay topics are always questions of school policy, while the SAT’s essays deal with more abstract moral or philosophical issues.

In the critical reading sections, the SAT’s vocabulary is harder, but the ACT taxes your critical reading and analysis skills. The ACT English section gives you a couple of long passages with grammar and critical reading questions mixed together; the SAT tests reading and grammar separately.

5. You can’t know if you like it till you’ve tried it!

How do I know which test is better for me? Try them! Take some free practice tests online and see which one fits your fancy. Both the SAT and ACT offer practice questions or tests on their official websites.