SAT: Changing Strategies to Improve Your Score - FamilyEducation

Changing the Way You Take the SAT

These SAT test-taking strategies can help improve your score.

There's nothing natural about taking the SAT. Many of the problem solving techniques you'll be learning here won't feel natural at first, either. Indeed, it's natural to resist change, any kind of change.

So changing the way you take the SAT won't always be easy—especially if you're a good student. After all, you've had a lot of success doing things your way. And then I come along and tell you that if you want to achieve your maximum possible SAT score, you're going to have to change test-taking habits that have served you well in school for years.

Here are some of the major things you're probably going to have to change for the SAT:

  • how much time you spend on easy, medium, and difficult questions
  • how many questions you leave blank, how quickly you decide which ones to leave blank, and why you leave them blank
  • the way you check your work for errors
  • the way you read passages, and how much time you spend on the reading questions
  • the way you solve math problems
  • what you do when you're not sure what a particular word means
  • how you guess
  • the way you plan and write essays
These aren't difficult things to do, and I'll explain everything step by step. I just wanted to warn you that you may experience some resistance to these changes. Again: if you selected choice (A) on question 15 in the How Much Do You Know About Taking the SAT?—if you already see yourself as a good test-taker—you may resist adopting new techniques more than students who don't think they test well. But it's my job to get you to change the way you take the SAT; you just have to be open to these changes.

How Much Do You Know About Taking the SAT? Answer Key