No matter how much you’ve studied, 225 minutes for one test, question after question, is a long time. It can be very difficult for anybody to keep focus for that long without the right practices. Running out of time on tests is not uncommon at all. It’s a lot of questions crammed into a small time period. Here’s how you can maximize your efficiency when answering questions on the SAT.
Wear A Watch
Wearing a watch can help you keep track of your time. Shocking, isn’t it? There is a clock in most test rooms, but having to keep looking up to see the time can take time and concentration away from your test paper. Don’t lose that focus. It’s easy to lose focus but hard to regain it. This will also help lower any nervous feelings because you won’t be seeing other people doing their tests. Less you see anyone else during this time, the better your nerves will be.
Skip Questions and Return
Think of this test like a chess game. Obviously you would pick and choose what you do in a chess game. Now, do the same on the test. Pick your battles. There’s easy questions and there’s those that make you want to break down and cry. If you get stuck on something, move on. There’s more “easy” questions that you can get points from. Every question on the test is worth 1 raw point, so there’s no reason to stress so much on one question and give up easy points due to the time crunch. Of course return later to the questions you didn’t answer and attempt them if time is available.
Don’t be Afraid to Guess
Statistically speaking, guessing when you have no way to eliminate any of the choices or have no idea what a possible answer could be is never in your favor. DO NOT GUESS in that case. But if you can eliminate at least one answer, take a very educated guess on what the answer is. Bubble it and move on.
Use All Your Time
Remember, the SAT is 225 minutes long. That is a very long time. If you finish the work in a section before time is called and you are able to move on, take a deep breath and then go back and look over your answers. There is no reward for finishing early. Use all the time you are given, double, triple check all your work. On your second or third pass over a question, you will definitely notice small things that you may have missed on the first run. For time’s sake, only target questions that you may have had a hard time with when answering the first time.
Take Practice Tests
Now, this is something that you can do while preparing to take the test as opposed to during the test. You always hear the saying “practice makes perfect”, and that could not be more true for the SAT. Taking practice tests is the best way for you to familiarize yourself with question formats and complex topics. The more you familiarize yourself with these, the faster you become at solving them. Thus, performing better and more efficiently during the test.
Now that you have some ideas of how to maximize your efforts during test day, remember to wear comfortable clothes that day, don’t experiment with breakfast, and most importantly layer your outfit so you are prepared for any climate in the test room. For the almost 4 hours that you will spend in that seat, you will definitely need some water and something to snack on in the breaks. Bring light snacks. We wish you the best of luck and the highest level of success on your SAT exams!