SAT- Do’s and Don’ts

SAT exam dos and don'ts

Dear SAT Aspirants,

In this article, we are going to talk about SAT Exam Do’s and Don’ts. Some of these points might seem common sense to you, but many students fail in these as well.

SAT brings high anxiety to almost all juniors and seniors. Students under extreme pressure to get high score, generally perform poorly. Here is a list of do’s and don’ts for students appearing for the SAT. These points will help you keep your cool and perform your best in the SAT.

SAT Do’s

Practice with real SAT tests in real test environment: This goes without saying, you need to practice as much as possible with real SAT tests in real test environment. This diagnosis will help you in time management and to handle exam pressure. There are numerous real SAT test available on internet. You should also download SAT tests from College Board’s official website. After attempting 10 papers, you should be

Analyse SAT tests after attempting: After attempting the tests, you should analyse tests completely. By analysis, I mean, you should be going to each and every question, and see what you did and why, and if there was any better method of doing the same. Generally this whole process should take double the time you took to attempt the paper.

Make sure to acquainted with SAT marking: Many students just ignore this very important point. You should completely clear with how your SAT test is going to be scored. This way you can be sure of what to concentrate or leave so to score most. Make sure to give enough time to each section.

Time Management: You end goal should be to get perfection in time management. By this, I mean that in stipulated time, you should be able to finish the section completely with revision done. Getting this perfection requires practice and time.

Use Process of Elimination: Best way to solve multiple choice questions (MCQs) is to use process of elimination. Rather than solving the question completely, by this method you can find answer rather quickly. There are no extra marks for solving question completely. Marks are only for marking the answers correctly. That you can do faster by looking at the options.

Pay attention to clock and how much time has passed: You should have time priorities set for you, as per your preparations. You should know in which sections or questions you want to spend more time as compared to others.

Revision: You should plan your test such that some time is left in the end for checking and changing your answers. This is much better than struggling with part of the SAT you find difficult.

Read instructions and questions carefully: Pay special attention to negative words (for example, “Choose which answer does not apply” or “Which of these does not refer the idea of the sentence”).

Arrive early: Finding your seat and focusing for the exam takes more time than you realise. Think positive. You need to be in your best frame of mind to score up to your potential.

Last but not least, do eat properly before you go for the test and wear something comfortable.

SAT Don’ts

Don’t try to decipher the test: Don’t look for pattern in the test. It is more likely to be a trap, rather than any pattern. It is possible to have four “C” answers in a row, but that does not mean that fifth will also be a “C”. Mark answers based on your analysis of the question.

No guessing: Unless you only two options are remaining, do not guess the answer. The SAT deducts 0.25 points in negative marking. That is why reckless guessing is not worth.

Don’t get struck on one question: If you are not able to solve any one question, mark it and move forward. Don’t spend too much time on it. Don’t make it your prestige issue. You can use that time in other questions. Best practice is to have certain time cut off for questions. Under any circumstance, you are not going to spend more time than that on any question.

Don’t get distracted by other students: In most probability, other students are just as lost as you. Try to keep yourself totally focussed on your test only. If other students are leaving early, let them. If your seat looks out on to the road, ask if you can move it. Most of the times, instructors will allow.

SAT Reading Comprehension Tips

Don’t give in to speed reading- Skimming the passage rarely give you the main idea of the passage. With so much material that too from topics of which you have no idea, speed reading is not the answer. Most likely, you will miss important instructions.

Reread complex sentences/ paragraph- There is no harm in reading seemingly complex or important sentences or paragraphs again. Many a times, second reading will make you really understand the meaning.

What does this mean?- After reading each section, ask yourself “What does this really mean”. Once you understand that, then paraphrase it. This will help you formulate your introduction.

SAT Essay Question Tips

Do some prewriting- Make best of your ability to write good drafts. By writing an outline of the essay, you will be able to organise your thoughts. Your writing will be far more consistent than an improvised essay.

Paraphrase the question in your introduction- Doing this will show that you have understood the prompt and main ideas.

Use decent handwriting- Your overall score might suffer, if you rush and your handwriting is illegible. Evaluators are humans, and they won’t be able to read incomprehensible handwriting. So take your time and write neatly.


Hope these points help you in your test preparation. Do let us know your feedback on these points in the below comment section.

Vagupu has some of the best Online SAT Tutors. Book your first free session now

If you like this article, say Thanks!!!

Suggested Reading for SAT