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Four helpful tips and advice for definite success on the upcoming SAT

Some words of wisdom from a senior to all juniors on the struggle bus

Artwork by Kaoru Murai

Artwork by Kaoru Murai

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Carter Colosky
News Editor and SAT conquerer, Samhita Sunkara

The most stressful time of the year for the junior class is slowly creeping around the corner. In about three weeks, these students will take a four-hour test that is somehow meant to culminate the past 12 years of their education, and will be used by universities to determine whether to grant or deny students their dreams.

One of the most difficult obstacles to overcome during my high school career was standardized testing. I was always a terrible test-taker, and still am to this day. The simple thought of a Scantron gives me anxiety beyond belief. Having said this, one year later I have survived this awful year of testing and am on my way to the rest of my future. I am confident that, with practice and preparation, the rest of the junior class will get through this terrifying period of time just as I did. Below are some of the tips I used to conquer the SAT:

Tip 1: Make the time to study. This is the most crucial step in preparing yourself for the SAT. Establishing a regular time to practice is the hardest part of the whole preparation. Look at your schedule and carve out any time you can to study, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day. During this time, turn your phone off and remove any other possible distractions so you can make the most of your time.

Tip 2: The key to performing well on the SAT is to be comfortable with the test. This can easily be accomplished by taking practice tests. Although this is by far the most tedious form of preparation, it is extremely beneficial. Familiarizing yourself with common questions and tricks the SAT throws into many of their tests allows you to be prepared for what you will see on test day. The test has many patterns of types of questions and answers, so looking at old tests can be extremely helpful.

Tip 3: Go over problems you get wrong on practice tests. Simply taking these tests over and over again will help you become adapted to the test style, but you won’t correct any of the frequent mistakes you make until you understand why you are getting them wrong. You will find that many of your mistakes were accidents or mistakes you made in multiple problems, so keeping track of this can help you boost your score easily.

Tip 4: A crucial step in your process for taking this test is to listen to your body and mind. This comes into play for many aspects of the test. When studying during the week of the test, don’t stress yourself out. By test week, what you have stored in your brain is what you’re going to know for the test. Frantically memorizing the quadratic formula or semicolon rules won’t help because your brain won’t retain them. On test day, listen to your brain and don’t second guess yourself! Often times, changing answers is a sign that you are overthinking the problem. This wastes time and typically will end up being the wrong answer anyways.

While the SAT is often hyped up to be the most important test of your high school career, don’t lose sleep over this. The SAT is one of the many criteria colleges and universities take into account when determining your acceptance at their school. Also, there will be more opportunities to take the test if this one doesn’t go your way. Good luck on testing week, juniors!

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Four helpful tips and advice for definite success on the upcoming SAT