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Tips and Tricks for the SAT

How to do well on the most important test in your high school career

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Tips and Tricks for the SAT

Justin Syzmanski tutors a fellow student for SAT's. Saturday will be the SAT test day for many Triton juniors

Justin Syzmanski tutors a fellow student for SAT's. Saturday will be the SAT test day for many Triton juniors

Lind photo

Justin Syzmanski tutors a fellow student for SAT's. Saturday will be the SAT test day for many Triton juniors

Lind photo

Lind photo

Justin Syzmanski tutors a fellow student for SAT's. Saturday will be the SAT test day for many Triton juniors

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The end of the school year is near, and with that comes the SAT. You might be incredibly nervous about the most important test you will take in high school. Triton students who got a high score on the SAT share their tips for the SAT.

In order to do well and or improve in taking the SAT, you have to study. However, you have to study efficiently. You can’t just re-teach yourself old topics. You have to practice. Using the following , I improved my SAT score from 1390 to 1530 in less than a month:

Resources

  • uworld.com – it used to be free but now costs $49 for 1800+ practice SAT questions. It’s worth it. The math problems are a lot harder than the ones on the SAT. If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball. They have a practice section for the reading analysis section, however I felt that the questions asked were awkward and didn’t really seem to mirror actual SAT problems well. Finally, it has a fantastic grammar-section. After every problem you do, it gives you an explanation that not only shows you how the answer was the answer, but it also shows why the other answers are wrong.
  • Khan Academy – Good resource for refreshing your math. They also offer all 8 practice tests on their website. You can take them in your browser and get a score immediately.
  • 1600.io – provides a walk-through of all 8 practice tests. The creator, a perfect scorer and Yale graduate, goes over every single question. Very helpful resource after taking the practice tests
  • Erica Meltzer’s “The Critical Reader” – Helped reframe my approach to the reading questions. The book explains what the questions are actually asking and how to approach each question. A lot of the English questions tend to 

The SAT seems daunting, but the questions and their styles are repetitive. As you practice more and more, the approach to each question becomes more intuitive to you. Eventually, after a lot of practice, once you see a problem, you will almost instantly know how to solve it. Students worry about working with the numbers, but the SAT math section only goes up to the end of Algebra 2. By the end of your junior year, you should be familiar with or at least recognize the content.

I can’t remember exactly how many practice math questions I did, but it was in the hundreds. I just grabbed a notebook and did sessions of about 100 questions. It was a grind but it paid off massively. If I got a question wrong, I made sure to know exactly why I did so. To improve you must work on your mistakes. You cannot ignore them.

Others’ experiences

Some other Triton students also scored well on the SAT. Seniors Ainsley Marsh and Zack Benesh both had scores above 1450.

Benesh, who scored a 1510, said that “the test prep books work, but only because they have a bunch practice tests in them… The trick is to figure out what your weaknesses are and work on those. So, for instance, my worst scoring part of the test by far was the ELA comprehension questions. So what I did was do a lot of that specific part of the test and then checked my answers. The trick is to familiarize yourself with the questions. Figure out exactly what they’re asking, how they’re going give the answer (in multiple choice), and how to go about getting the answer (in ELA – where it could be found in the text, in Math – how to do the math).”

“In doing so,” he explained, “you’ll learn the test even if you don’t know the content. Additionally, if you can explain why one of the answers is wrong, cross it off immediately. A 50/50 chance on a question is a lot better than a 25/75 one.”

Marsh, who scored in the high 1400’s, had her take.

“I participated in the SAT night class Triton provided, for both English and math. I also programmed a lot of stuff into my calculator which saved me time on test day,” she said. The College Board does not explicitly say that you cannot put programs on your calculator. However, some will find that you won’t need to use the programs during the test.

“I went through some of the standards which are on the math sat especially, and went over the topics I either had not learned or had to brush up on. I didn’t do much online prep like the Khan academy classes, although I definitely would suggest those. I also watched some YouTube videos in preparation.”

Some popular resources on YouTube are SupertutorTV, “Study to Success”, PatrickJMT, The Organic Chemistry Tutor, and of course, Khan Academy.

Taking the SAT at least twice is extremely beneficial. That way, you are familiar with the process and are a lot less nervous. Another important step is to sleep well and eat a good breakfast. That may sound extremely cliched, but it actually helps. You should be well-rested and energized.

About the Writer
Joshua Lind, Writer

My name is Joshua Lind. I am a 17-year-old, tri-citizen senior at Triton High School. I am currently taking Mr. Allen's journalism class. I like to write...

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