10 Proven Preparation Tricks & Strategies for SAT Exam


SAT is a standardized test taken by millions of students every year for college admissions. It is a paper-pencil test conducted by the College Board. In India, these tests happen during March, May, August, October, and December. Other than college admissions, SAT scores can also be used for scholarship purposes.

Nearly 35 universities in India accept the SAT score for admissions, with the number expanding. Students can now apply to various universities in India and throughout the world by taking the SAT instead of many entrance exams. The College Board-founded India Global Higher Education Alliance is working with Indian colleges to make the admissions process easier for Indian students. For Indian students, they also provide SAT fee waivers and funding programs.


What are the Topics Covered in the SAT?


There are four sections in this test – Reading, Writing and Language, Math – No-Calculator, and Math Calculator. The Reading and Writing sections contribute towards the verbal score of 200-800, while the math sections contribute towards the Math score ranging from 200-800. The first step towards SAT preparation is to know the SAT syllabus.

Section Topic Covered
Reading Passages from Literature, History/ Social, Science
Writing and Language Grammar, Punctuation, and Style
Math – Calculator, No Calculator Heart of Algebra, Passport to Advanced Mathematics, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, and other topics. 


Few Tricks and Strategies


1. Set the Target Score

The target score depends on the course you are looking for and your dream university. Visit the university pages and learn about their SAT score requirements. Plan to score more than the average score requirements to be on the safer side. The gap between the diagnostic test score and the target score decide the time one should take for SAT preparation.


2. How to Prepare for the SAT

Have you already enrolled for an SAT online course? If not, start the SAT prep with an SAT sample paper. The diagnostic test score will help you understand where you stand. Based on the gap, try to enrol for online coaching or use prep materials. Make sure you go for the quality materials that mimic actual SAT. The test will help you understand the SAT sample pattern.

You can choose an online sat prep for professional guidance. Make sure these courses teach you techniques to get correct answers within the stipulated time. If you plan to use books for preparation, go for the ones with the best strategies and SAT-like questions for practice. You can opt for sat classes online during this pandemic.

Make a schedule and stick to it. Use Google calendar or any online calendar to schedule your practice drills. Practice every topic you learn. Avoid distractions during the prep. Create a test-like environment during the practice sessions.

Opt for an SAT test series to monitor your progress. These tests should reflect the actual SAT. Make it a point to include the free official SAT tests in your prep.


3. Learn from the Mistakes

Take time to review your tests. Learn why the mistakes happened – was it a conceptual error, conceptual mistake, or a problem with understanding the question. Practice the weak areas and avoid repeating the mistakes.

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4. Read the Instructions Carefully

While taking the mocks, read the directions carefully and understand them so that on the test day you need not go through them at the cost of the test time. Use the question paper effectively for scratch work in both math and verbal.


5. Mark the Answers Carefully

Don’t be sloppy while filling the answer sheet. Make sure you fill the answers in the right section and do it in smaller pieces, say 5 or 6 questions every time. Avoid stray marks in the sheets as the scantron may not be able to differentiate between the correct answer and stray marks.


6. Eliminate the Wrong Answer Options

All the MCQs on the SAT have only one correct answer. Hence, learn to eliminate the wrong answers so that you will be left with the correct answer. The College Board creates wrong answers on purpose. Your job is to figure out what makes these answers wrong. Spare a few minutes, in the end, to guess the questions you have left unanswered. There is no negative marking on the SAT. Hence, don’t skip any questions.


7. Strategies for the Reading Section

  • Choose the order in which you want to do the passages. They need not be approached in the same order as they appear on the test. Say if you are comfortable with the science passages, do them first, and say if the History passage is your Achilles heels, leave it for the end.
  • Read the blurb. The italicized introduction to the passage gives the context of the author and the passage.
  • Start working with the specific questions that ask for smaller details. You would have read a major part of the passage and will be ready to deal with the big picture questions.
  • You may not love the passages but still, engage yourself with what you read. This will help you to keep track of what is happening in the passage.
  • Always look for evidence from the passage. Any answer that is not supported by the text can never be the correct answer.
  • Leave your personal opinion at the doorstep.


8. Strategies for the Writing and Language Section

  • Nearly 24 questions on this section test the grammar and punctuation rules. There are certain specific rules that get tested on the SAT, and it is mandatory that you memorize these rules. Do not go by the sound of the answer.
  • The NO CHANGE option is correct twenty-five percent of the time it appears on the test. Some end up selecting this option more often, while others hesitate to choose this. If you are left out with this option after eliminating all the other options, go for it.
  • For answering the Rhetorical questions, read the paragraph carefully.
  • If you have two grammatically correct answers, choose the concise one.


9. Strategies for the Math Section

  • Learn the formulae and concepts that get tested on the SAT.
  • Read the full question and underline the important details as you go.
  • Practice more on difficult areas and don’t miss out on the rarely tested topics like trigonometry or complex numbers.
  • Decide on when to use the calculator in the Calculator section.
  • Learn the grid-in rules.


10. The Do’s and Don’ts on the Test Day

  • Don’t learn any new concepts or take a full-length test on the day before the exam. Relax and watch a movie or hang out with friends. Do a warm-up with a few questions and brush up on the formulae and rules.
  • Make a checklist of the following and make sure you keep them ready the previous night: printout of the confirmation email, acceptable photo id, two #2 or HB pencils, erasers, and calculators. Mechanical pencils are not allowed on the test.
  • Get a good night’s sleep as you have a daunting 3-hour task the next morning.
  • Don’t skip breakfast, lest you should lose concentration because of hunger.
  • Try to reach the center on time. Visit the location a few days before the test so that you know where it is located.
  • Carry water and snacks to be consumed during the break.
  • Don’t panic during the test. Complete the easy ones, and even if you are not able to answer all the questions, guess and move on.
  • You can send the official scores free of cost to four colleges from the time you have registered for the test. This can be done up to 9 days after the test. Make use of it wisely. You can also use Score Choice to choose and send scores if you have taken the SAT multiple times.

Gear yourself up for the SAT with the help of the best online sat prep.


Frequently Asked Questions


Q1. Are there any special accommodations for students with disabilities?

Yes, the SAT does accommodate students with disabilities. The students with disabilities must request accommodations and this should be approved by the College Board’s Services for Students with Disabilities. For more information visit: https://accommodations.collegeboard.org/

Q2. How much does it cost to take the SAT?

In India, the SAT fee is $55 for the test along with the international fee of $49.

Q3. How many times can I take the SAT?

You can take the SAT as many times as you want. It is generally advised that the student takes it twice or thrice. A large number of administrations on the score report may sound like the student is inconsistent.

Q4. What is score choice?

Score Choice allows you to choose and send the SAT scores of your choice to the universities. While some colleges require you to send only the highest score, others may require you to send all the scores.

Q5. Do colleges prefer SAT or ACT?

Both ACT and SAT are equally accepted by the colleges.


Find Your Dream University

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