One Month Left: 7 Tips and Tricks for the SAT II

Spring break is over for most high school students (we hate to be the ones to break it to you,) and you’re back to school–that’s bad enough, right? How’s this for a wakeup call: you’ve got ONE MONTH LEFT to finish prepping for the May 4th 2013 SAT IIs. Don’t panic!

Here are 7 tips and tricks for the SAT II.

1)    All questions are created equal. Every question, regardless of whether it’s a hard question or an easy question, is worth the same amount of points. Don’t spend a ton of time on questions that are sloooowing you down. Answer the ones you know first, and come back to the hard ones later. They’ll still be there  (we promise.)

2)    It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. Unlike the exams you’re used to taking in high school, the SAT doesn’t care how you came to your answer. No one is going to look at your work. Your math teacher may cry tears of joy at the sight of your neatly handwritten equations in the exact format that he or she taught you, but none of that matters here. Do what you need to do to get to the correct answer, and do it FAST.

3)    Know before you go. The directions for the questions on the SAT II are ALWAYS the same from year to year. Study them. Memorize them. Put them under your pillow at night and let them seep into your brain through osmosis. Then you don’t have to spend time reading them on the test, because you already know what they are. Now you’ve got a couple of precious extra minutes to spend on the actual test questions themselves.

4)    Become best friends with the test. Get to know the test before you go sit for the exam, so when you go to take it, it’s like you’ve known it forever. Look at past exams, sample questions, online or in Test Prep books. Get familiar with the layout, the different types of questions, and the progression of difficulty, so that nothing surprises you. If you’re bored when you take the test, congratulations, you did a great job studying.

5)    Be alert. If an answer seems obvious, take a look at where you are in the exam. Easier questions are in the beginning, and the questions get trickier towards the end. If you’re on question two and the answer seems easy, there’s a good chance it is. But if you’re on the last page and the answer seems obvious, it may be a trick. Stay awake!

6)    Should I guess on questions I don’t know? Well, you DO lose points for wrong answers. But if you can eliminate at least one of the answer choices as definitely wrong, the odds are in your favor that you’ll get the answer right, and it’s a good idea to guess. Otherwise, leave that sucker blank.

7)    The Answer Grid is Not Your Friend. No one’s going to check to see if you’ve filled in the answer grid correctly – no one except for YOU. When filling in those bubbles, make sure you’re on the right question. Always circle the questions you skip. Circle the answers you choose so you can go back and check against the grid. Leave time to go back and check at the end of the exam.



By Emily Herzlin, Admissionado Senior Editor

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