Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What the SAT Actually Tests You On: Tips and Tricks for taking the SAT

The Official SAT Study Guide: Just what DOES the SAT test you on?

The different forms of standardized tests are very important to understand.  It's extremely hard to excel on a test if you're not even sure what the test is all about.

Yes, the SAT's three main sections are Math, Writing, and Critical Reading; but is that really what it tests you on??  Nope...

Unlike the LSAT (for law school), MCAT (for medical school), and PCAT (for pharmacy school) which all test you on very specific knowledge that is career-oriented, the SAT & ACT are generalized standardized tests.  This means that instead of testing you on specific career-oriented knowledge, the SAT and ACT test you on your critical thinking skillsThe tricky part is that this applies to both taking the test, AND studying for the test.

In studying for the SAT, it is absolutely crucial that you get it through your head that you are not expected to know every single definition of any crazy word they may throw at you.  Nor are you expected to know what n(4.78x)/xyz(19b) equals.  In fact, if you come up with some crazily difficult looking answer for anything on the SAT, chances are that you're wrong and you've put way too much work into a fairly simple problem. 

Studying for the SAT is as simple as sharpening your critical thinking skills.  That's it!  Instead of trying to memorize lists of hundreds and hundreds of words that you'll never use, learn word roots instead.  Instead of trying to learn everything there is to know from Algebra I through Calculus, simply learn to look at the problem the right way from the right perspective and you'll ace the SAT.  Learn more from the Official SAT Study Guide about how to study properly for the SAT here.

In actually taking the SAT, simply learn to look at a question and determine what's different about it.  Learn tips to stretch your time on each section before you ever even get to the test.  Learn how to authenticate your essay and even pre-write your essay before you actually take the SAT.  Learn these and other valuable tips and tricks to actually taking the test and, again, you'll ace the SAT.  Read more from the Official SAT Study Guide on tips and tricks for taking the SAT here.


 Useful Links for Studying for the SAT:

The Official SAT Study Guide, 2nd edition 
Gruber's Complete SAT Guide 2010, 13E 
Math Study Guide for the SAT®, ACT®, and SAT® Subject Tests - 2010 Edition (Math Study Guide for the SAT, ACT, & SAT Subject Tests) 
Up Your Score: The Underground Guide to the SAT 2009-2010 Edition 
Kaplan SAT 2010 Edition: Strategies, Practice, and Review

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