I am an SAT® tutor, and this morning I took the SAT® alongside one of my students. Moreover, in this article, I would like to share with you three insights for taking the test.
My First Piece of Advice - remember to bring your flashcards with you.
Whenever I am teaching my students, I help them memorize problems and rules by creating specific SAT® flashcards. Flashcards are a key component to my lessons as they help students with memorization, strategy, and accuracy. So, if you are studying for a test similarly, you should have and utilize a stack of flashcards. Using a similar technique with flashcards can prove to be advantageous for getting a high score.
Here is the how I used my flashcard to stay calm before the test. If you have taken the SAT® in the past, you probably know that before the test begins, there could be a lot of waiting. Waiting is NOT something humans, particularly teenagers, are good at. We get irritated or nervous especially given the circumstance. That is why I recommend using a stack of flashcards as a distractor. I have a funny name for it - a DISTRACTINATOR. Today, we waited for about thirty minutes before the proctor distributed test booklets. For most students, those thirty minutes can be very draining, mainly because you are worried about the test. However, I was able to redirect my anxiety before the test and focus on my flashcards. Reading flashcards can help mitigate your anxiety. I offered my mind something to focus on. I was priming my brain by looking at the SAT® problems and solving them.
I also looked around the room and noticed a pack of neophyte students who were sitting in my classroom. I remember that they did not look as relaxed or calm as I did. Why? The proctor asked each student to remove their cell phones. Without access to their cell phones or flashcards, the students could not deflect their anxiety. When you have no way to distract yourself for thirty minutes straight, the waiting for test can be a difficult experience and could hinder your performance.
I do not think that bringing flashcards is officially allowed, but I noticed that the proctor saw me reading my flashcards. The proctor did not say anything to me. She seemed to be allowing me to study before the test. Therefore, I think flashcards are permitted to use before the SAT® booklets are distributed.
Moving on, here's my second piece of advice: the test is very quick, so you have to switch gears from waiting to racing
The test itself is timed in an unfriendly way and time is not on your side when you are taking the SAT® . So, when you get stuck on a question, don’t dwell on it! Decide on an answer choice and move on. There is no time for thinking or reflection. I always keep moving forward. Otherwise, you would not be able to look at all the questions. Different level questions are spread out throughout the test, look for the easy ones!
Moreover, lastly, here's my third piece of advice: remember that the test has many words.
Words are not only found in the reading and the language section. There are also many words in the math section as well. Because of the dense vocabulary and lengthy wording ( which is unnecessary and done on purpose), some math problems can take up roughly five to six lines of text. The questions can feel like they have been obscured by the text. Because of how they are written, it can take a long time to read each math problem. Know that! That is why you should practice speed reading and work on your vocabulary before the test.
There were at least three vocabulary words that I saw in today’s SAT® . I teach these vocabulary words in my SebersonMethod.com
Here they are:
Advantageous (lucky word family);
Mitigate (sooth word family);
and Obscured (secretive/hidden word family).
Moreover, you should remember that even though SAT® does not contain a vocabulary test, vocabulary plays a huge part in every section. Memorizing and knowing elevated vocabulary is unequivocally vital to getting a high score.