There are better ways to boost your SAT score.
Walk into a testing center before the SAT and you’ll see all sorts of last minute superstitious practices. Some people carry talismans, others spray on their favorite lucky cologne, and some just pray. So apart from studying, (of course), maybe working with an SAT tutor, and wearing your lucky underpants (really!), what can you do maximize your SAT score? Here are three slightly unconventional, less than obvious tricks.
Bubble 5 at a time
The SAT is a multiple choice exam that requires bubbling in answer choices A through E with a number 2 pencil. You might not have thought about this but solving each problem then bubbling in the answer choice makes for a lot of going back and forth between the question booklet and answer sheet. All of this costs a lot of time. So how can you save some? Answer five questions at a time, then bubble them all in together. You’ll be surprised at how much faster things go. Of course, this takes practice just like everything else, so try it out during practice exams. Also, bubbling in more than five questions can get confusing and cause you to skip some, so take it slow. Bubbling in fewer than five might not be as efficient a use of your time but try it out and see what works for you.
Pay attention to your biology
They’re not adding a science section, don’t worry. This one might seem obvious but it can be forgotten in the nervousness of test day. Eat and drink. Trying to finish the SATs while your stomach grumbles in a quiet room has got to be an uncomfortable experience. Even if you don’t feel like eating when you wake up, eat and drink during breaks. This will make you calmer and get your brain thinking while you try to get through the long exam.
Have stress-relieving techniques on hand
Taking the SATs can be stressful, especially if you start thinking of how important it is, how you cannot mess this up, or how much importance colleges give to this one test. Relax. We’ve all had moments during the test when words start to mesh into each other and the question you’re trying to read just cannot be analyzed by your brain. It’s a long, tedious exam so you need a way to help you relax. One way that worked for me was to push the palms of my hands into each other hard every time you get overwhelmed. Do this during practice exams and your brain will get used to calming down and taking a beat as an automatic response to your palms pushing against each other. It can also be a way to relax your tired hands after all that writing. Find what works for you that’s subtle but relaxes you.
Don’t forget the little things. Maximize your time by bubbling in five answers at a time. Make sure not to take the test hungry or thirsty by carrying a granola bar you can eat during breaks. Have something that works for you, a signal of sorts to your brain to relax when you get overwhelmed or tired. The SAT is about stamina as well as learning so be sure not to forget the little things. If you’re still struggling with it, though, working with a private SAT tutor can really help. Cambridge Coaching offers SAT coaching online, in New York, and in Boston. Our tutors can give you the test tips you need to go into the testing room confidently, and exit triumphally!
For more relevant reading, check out these other blog posts, written by our private SAT tutors in NYC and Boston: How to Hack the SAT Essay, The Benefits of Working with a One-on-One SAT Tutor, and The Vital Importance of Starting Each Question Right.