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SAT, ACT, and PSAT Test Taking Strategies

There is no substitute for preparation and knowing the material that you will be tested on. However, there are many test-taking strategies that will help you to use the information you do know to your best advantage.

General Tips for Taking ACT, SAT and PSAT

Find out information about the test well in advance

  • Exactly what material will the test cover?
  • What kind of test will it be? (multiple choice, essay, time limit, etc.)
  • How much of your grade in the class will this test be worth?

Give yourself plenty of time to prepare for the test

  • If you don't understand something, ask for help before it is time to begin studying
  • Spread study time over several days. Give yourself extra time in case you run into problems.
  • Decide whether it would help to spend time studying with another person. You may find it best to study alone and review with another person
  • Choose a quiet study place with good light, where you won't be interrupted.
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses. Concentrate your study time on the area that you need to study the most.
  • Know how to use your study time Use the Read-Test-Check Study Method Read the material or say it to yourself until you think you know it. Study a small portion of the material at a time. Test yourself. Try to remember or repeat the information without looking at it. Check to see if you remembered the information correctly. If not, Read-Test-Check again.

Feel confident about taking the test

  • One of the best ways to know you own information is to teach it to somebody else.
  • Make sure you are comfortable about your environment o Get plenty of sleep and a good breakfast o Arrive early and sit where you are most comfortable
  • Make certain that you understand the test directions o Ask for help if you are uncertain what to do
  • Know how many points every section of the test is worth o If the test has a time limit, think about where your time will be best spent
  • Don't sweat the small stuff. Once your test begins, your preparation is over. Even if you are unsure of some of the answers, the best thing you can do is keep your concentration and realize what strategies will help you succeed.

Tips for Taking Multiple Choice Tests

  • Do the problems that are the easiest first. Mark the questions that you need to come back to by either circling them or putting X by the question.
  • Read all the possible choices before selecting an answer.
  • Sometimes there is another choice that better fits the question such as an 揳ll of the above answer.
  • The first time 揳ll of the above?is used, it will often be the correct answer.
  • Use the process of elimination if you know that a certain choice is not the answer.
  • When reading a question, be sure to notice if there is an 搃s not?in it. Misreading the question will make you choose the wrong answer for the question.
  • If you are completely unsure of the answer, the longest answer is slightly more likely to be correct.
  • Mark the answer according to what the directions way and not how you think they should be marked.
  • The directions may ask you to circle, mark the letter, or use a Scantron.

Standardized Tests

  • Most standardized test such as the SAT and the ACT are multiple-choice tests. When taking these tests, try to use these test strategies.


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