3 Important SAT Strategies
The first SAT of 2014 is just around the corner. If you took one of our six-week SAT courses or one of our boot camps last semester, you may need to refresh your memory on some of our strategies. But here are what I consider the three most important in each section:
The Critical Reading section has two types of questions: passage-based questions and sentence completions. Remember to ELIMINATE wrong answers. Most students think in terms of “finding the right answer.” But that is exactly how to fall for the crafty SAT writer’s tricks. Answer choices will seem a little right and a little wrong. So think in terms of eliminating the answers that are definitely wrong. Often you will be able to eliminate at least two answer choices. Then your chances of getting the question right outweighs the guessing penalty. Take an educated guess and move on!
Sometimes the hardest part about the Math section is just figuring out what the heck the question is asking. Don’t give up because you don’t know exactly how to do every step of the problem. Begin by identifying the problem type (e.g., Geometry – Circles, Algebra – Weird Symbol), then SET UP the problem. This is the key step. For geometry problems, this usually involves labeling the diagram. For word problems, pull the math out of the word problem. For function problems, usually all you have to do is substitute. Once you set up the problem, you can usually see what the next step is.
The Writing section has two parts: multiple choice grammar questions and a hand-written essay. For the essay, remember to use I-B-C structure. You should have a four paragraph essay that has an introductory paragraph, two body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The introductory paragraph should include your thesis sentence in which you take a position on the prompt.
The other part of the Writing section is multiple choice grammar questions. When it comes to English, your ear for grammar may not always serve you. If you are not sure how to approach an “identifying errors” or “improving sentences” question, label the main subject and main verb of the sentence and the subject and verb of each clause. This will help you check for subject-verb agreement and verb tense. Even if the error isn’t one of these, just breaking apart the sentence like this can help you spot the error.
As always, strategies are helpful, but you need to practice using them. Good luck!