Almost every high school student will have to take the SAT if they want to go to college. There are plenty of SAT guides out there, but they are usually all the same and provide nothing new to think about. As a former high school student who has had the displeasure of taking the PSAT and the SAT, I know how it works and what students actually need to know.
Tip 1 (Know the Logistics):
Below is some general info about the English Portion, which can help you choose what to focus on:
1 Fiction Passage
2 Science Passages
1 Social Science Passage
1 Historical/Political Passage
+ One Passage with two people with differing opinions
Tip 2 (Know what you’ll be asked about):
On the English Section of the SAT, you’ll very likely be tested on most of these topics:
Sentence construction, Comma rules, Semicolons, colons, and dashes, Subject-Verb agreement, Verb tense, Parallelism, Pronouns, Possessives, That VS Which, and Misplaced Modifiers.
Tip 3 (What even is a semicolon?):
You can expect around 3 questions about semicolons, colons, and dashes, all of which you probably have forgotten about since you learned about them in middle school.
Here is a little Refresher:
You need a complete sentence on each side of a semicolon, it is just an alternative to a period (.)
A semicolon is the SAME as a period, so if there is a period option and a semicolon option, you know it is neither of those.
Basically an equal sign, you are about to add something to what you just talked about.
Or a list
You can only use a colon after a complete sentence.
NEVER put a colon after “for example” OR “including”. (It is just redundant)
Basically adds useless information, that could be removed and the sentence would work fine without it.
It can also be used to express a sudden change in tone or thought, something completely off, from how the person was speaking before.
For Example uses dashes (-), as it is NOT important
Tip 4 (The SAT Essay):
Not everyone is going to be taking the SAT Essay, but some universities do require it, so you obviously also want a good score on that.
I can’t teach you how to write well in this short guide, but I can give you a tip about how to tackle the essay.
According to an MIT Research paper, the College Board readers, that read the SAT Essays, do not have time to go through the entire thing, but they’ll skim the general structure and look for keywords.
This means that you need to write as much as you possibly can, preferably in the format of:
1 Introduction + 3 Body paragraphs + 1 Conclusion.
Also, if there are any keywords in the article you get, remember to use the same words, used in the article, as the graders are looking for that too.
And as an extra reason, I did exactly this, and I got a perfect score on my essay, even though I’m not the best writer.
Tip 5 (The Math part):
There will be two sections on the SAT, and to be honest, the calculator part, is going to be the easiest, and you don’t even need a calculator for most of the questions.
Where it gets a little more tough is with the non-calculator questions, where a calculator would be nice to have.
I have compiled a small three-page document of what I believe to be the most important things to know:
Tip 6 (Food for Thought):
One of the last things I thought about was actually having the energy to complete the test and to stay focused.
So I researched a little about what type of food would be the most beneficial before and during the test.
This might sound a little crazy, but if you’re reading this, it’s highly likely that you want to get as high of a score as possible, and do just about anything to make that happen, even if that difference is like 10 points.
A good rule of thumb is to not eat anything with a high concentration of sugar, as you’ll get the sugar rush for a couple of minutes, but you’ll slowly lose more and more energy, and therefore focus, which could harm your performance.
Beneath this blob of text is a picture of what you need to start the day, and what you need during the breaks:
*SAT is a registered trademark of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse this product.