Overall Big Picture Strategies
  1. Know the directions – The SAT and ACT can be nerve-racking because you don’t know what to expect. Certain things you can know prior to the test. Know the directions for each type of question before walking in the door.
  2. Pace yourself – Time is of the essence. Don’t dawdle on one questions that’s stumping you. Each question is worth the same amount—if you’re lingering on one, you may be losing the chance for another.
  3. Answer the easy ones – On the ACT you’ll answer all of the questions. On the SAT, perhaps you won’t. But, you’ll want to answer the easier ones for sure. Generally, easier questions are near the beginning of each section. Focus on these and be sure not to linger on later/tougher questions.
  4. Use the test booklet – Use the test booklet as scratch paper. Also, mark in your test booklet any question you want to return to later.
  5. Minimize silly mistakes – Nothing’s worse than doing a math problem, working through it and figuring it out, then marking the wrong choice because it asked for the shaded area instead of the white area. Proceed briskly, but carefully.
  6. Double check your numbering – Periodically double check your question numbering and your bubbling in the answer sheet. Make sure they match up and that you’re bubbling where you think you’re bubbling.
  7. Be neat – Make sure all bubbles are complete, inside the circle, and that any eraser marks are completely gone.
  8. Don’t get psyched out – If you feel that you’re not doing well, don’t let that affect your performance. Think about it—if you missed a question, or two or three, that has no bearing on whether you’ll get the next question right. Each question is independent of the others, so don’t last the prior question hurt the current question.
  9. Don’t worry about others – Never be concerned with what others around you are doing. And don’t psyche yourself thinking that they’re flying through it while you’re struggling. Rest assured, they’re struggling too. Besides, nothing that another person does will affect your score. So, blot them out completely and focus on your test.
  10. Be confident – Walk into the test room ready and eager, but with a sense of confidence. You’ve worked through this study book, taken practice tests, so you’re ready.
  11. Relax – No need to panic. When it’s all said and done, it’s just a test. And what’s even better is that there are do-overs (you can take the test again and again). Just relax.

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