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15 tips for taking the S.A.T.s

We are blessed to live in a community that has an awesome library system.  This past weekend, not only did my daughter take a diagnostic SAT/ACT test, I was able to attend a "Tips for taking the SAT / ACT test"  Where I got lots of questions answered and a few I just didn't know.  I'm passing some of the information on to you. 

I feel I need to put a disclaimer here.  These tips will not guarantee you a good score but this is what the experts I met suggest.  Also they emphasized YOU MUST PRACTICE.

  1. When they say you will do well on the SATs if you read, they don't mean Twilight, they mean the classics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemmingway, Dickens, Austen, Wharton
  2. The Northeast and Southern states typically accept the SATs the Western states typically want ACT but all schools are starting to accept both.  Go to the college site to see what they want
  3. The average student takes the test three times, first time is their worst score, second time is their biggest jump, and the third time there a small jump but not significant.
  4. Best to go into the test with confidence and the stamina to be there for four hours.
  5. Freshman year is not a very good idea to start studying for it.  They were not given enough information yet and they are not mature enough for it.
  6. If you start focusing in 10th grade, you'll be ahead.
  7. Although really need to know your child for when is the best time to take the test, Oct/Nov of Junior year is a good time to take the first test and Feb/Mar/Apr is good for the second test.  That way you still have the Fall of your Senior year to take it a third time.
  8. June is not a good time to take the test because usually this is when there are state tests, finals and other end of year activities going on.
  9. Pay for the Q&A service, this will give you what problem you got wrong and what was the correct answer.
  10. Sign up early so that you can take the test closest to your hometown. 
  11. I would think most of you know that you get points taken away if you answer the questions wrong.  Sometimes if you know you have no clue, it's best not to answer.
  12. On the fill in the blank Math section of the SAT, you do not get penalized for answering the wrong answer.
  13. has the question of the day SAT question.
  14. A score of 650+ on a section (there are three sections) of the SAT is considered a good score.
  15. The arithmetic on the Math section is easy, it's deciphering the question that is the hard part.


  1. Great tips!! I honestly barely remember taking the SAT's but I did. I know the practice tests were useful to me.

    1. Yeah, things seems to be different than when I took the test. It's more strategic.

  2. This is a very timely post for me. My oldest is a senior this year, my youngest is a sophomore. Although my oldest has already been accepted to his dream school - Rock Chalk Jayhawk!! - he realized that the higher his score is the better the financial aid package will be and is taking the SAT and ACT this fall before his Senior Baseball season begins.

    Great post! Thank you for sharing!!

    1. My niece got a tuition scholarship and she says if she had just 10 points more it would have covered her room and board.

  3. I took the ACT and only once. As a former English teacher, I fully concur that tip #1 matters so much. However, more and more YA books are being incorporated into the curriculum to entice kids to read. The end result, is they are not challenged as much as they need to be and come to see reading solely for entertainment. To this day, I still read books and recognize words when I'm reading books from vocabulary lists I either studied or gave to my students.

    1. My daughter is reading the classics in school and yeah she hates it but she reads plenty outside the classroom so there is no reason the school needs to dumb it down.

  4. I get anxious just reading your post. But my eldest son did fine, and now my middle son is studying the SAT book. My job at this point is to feed him (I mean food), and he takes care of his own studying. He is in a good high school with lots of coaching.

  5. I took the ACT, PSAT, and SAT (a couple of times). I don't recall that there was much of a difference in my SAT scores.

  6. I remember how stressed I was with all these tests. Back then, there were not tutors for them nor were we encourages to actually study for the exams specifically. But both my parents had teaching backgrounds, so I was lucky in that they did prepare me in the ways they could. I'm sending this on to a few friends who have kids this age and could really benefit from these tips. Well done!

  7. These tests are crazy and can be extremely stressful on the student. These are great tips for any student getting ready to prepare for the SATs.

  8. What wonderful tips for students. SAT's/ ACT's are something that are important for students prior to college and can be extremely nerve racking.

  9. I didn't have to take SATs since I grew up in Quebec,Canada. I've heard about them but never really understood what they were all about. As I read this I'm so relieved they were not necessary. I've got angina just thinking about it.:) It must be a relief for students to come across a post like this that helps pull all the bits of information together.


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