Common SAT Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

test prep

Are you taking the SAT soon and feeling nervous about the score you'll get? Make sure that you get the best possible results by avoiding these common test-taking mistakes that are all too easy to make.

Common SAT Mistakes

Studying for and taking the SAT can be a grueling process. By the time you sit down to take the exam, you'll probably be more prepared than you ever have been for a test. But before you consider yourself completely ready for the SAT, you should know that there are some common mistakes many students - including yourself - are likely to make. Thankfully, you have this blog post to provide you with some advance warning. Read on to find out what you shouldn't do before and during the SAT.

Being Unprepared for the ''Little Things''

Sure, you've been studying for months and can define every word in the dictionary, but have you thought about the non-academic details that you'll have to contend with on SAT day? Sometimes, you can get so focused on the scholarly side of the exam that you forget to bring extra pencils - or even one pencil. To that end, make sure that you know exactly which supplies (pencils, calculator, eraser, etc.) you need to bring to the SAT and which materials you have to show to get in (ID, admission ticket).

Also, make sure that you know exactly where you'll be taking the test, how much time you'll need to get there, and where you'll park. And don't forget to practice your cursive for that dreaded verification section!

The supplies needed to take the SAT

Thinking of the SAT as a Sprint

As your pre-test anticipation builds, you probably have a lot of nervous energy propelling you forward, making you want to get through the test as quickly as possible. But don't do that. The SAT is a marathon, not a sprint. The test can be up to four hours long!

To properly prepare, make sure that you get a good night's sleep, fuel, and hydrate. Don't rush through the test; instead, really take your time. Also, use your breaks wisely. And don't forget to breathe!

It might help to practice focusing for hours at a time, so consider structuring one of your SAT study sessions with the same timing structure as the one used for the actual SAT.

The SAT is a marathon

Failing to Triple-Check Answers

The last common mistake you want to make sure you avoid is not checking, double-checking, and triple-checking all of your answers. Double-check that you've completely read and understood the instructions and each question stem, making sure that you haven't missed any keywords, like ''which of these is NOT...?'' Double-check your answer to each question. Double-check every operation in your math work.

Beyond those precautions, double-check that you bubbled in each answer at the correct spot on your Scantron. You don't want to be that person who fails the entire SAT because you accidentally skipped a question on the answer sheet and bubbled everything into the wrong spot.

An SAT Scantron

We know: once you've finished the test and that flood of relief kicks in, it's tempting to submit your exam booklet and get the heck out of there. But it's well worth the mental effort to check your answers again - just to be sure. The test's not over until every answer has been looked over at least twice, or even three times. That's what they always say, right?

So, there you are: avoid these common mistakes and you'll be well ahead of the game on exam day. Good luck on your SAT. You've got this!

If you're looking for an engaging, effective SAT prep resource, check out!

By Daisy Rogozinsky
March 2019

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