SAT Tips and Tricks

Tips and tricks that may help you survive the SAT!

SAT Tips and Tricks

Updated: March 12, 2024

April 23, 2023

Whether you're a junior, sophomore, or even a freshman, it's important to know some tricks that will get you through the SAT quickly. Although some of you don’t have to worry about this until next year or even for another two years, time flies by quickly, and before you know it—the SAT is a week away and you haven’t studied at all.

The implications of COVID-19, including test cancellations, disruptions, and socioeconomic inequalities, led the era of test-optional college admission policies to ensue. Since the pandemic, however, colleges including MIT, Dartmouth, Brown, and Yale will once again require test score submissions for incoming classes beginning in the fall 2025 semester.

These reinstatements, however, are not the only news for prospective college students. 2024 is the first year that students will take the SAT in a digital format. Along with this change, there are multiple aspects of the test that will be adjusted. Previously, the SAT consisted of four sections; reading, writing and language, math without a calculator, and math with a calculator. Now, both of the English sections will be combined, as well as both of the math sections. The test will also become shorter, its duration lowering from three hours to two hours. Another feature of the revamped SAT is the questions will become “adaptive”. This means that the SAT will give you questions based on how well you did on the last question. If you do well on the previous question, the next question will be more difficult. If not, the next question will be easier. Additionally, the math section of the exam will allow students to use a calculator for its entirety.

Ideally, you would have at least a couple of months to study for the SAT, during which you can take a practice test every few weeks to see where you stand. Khan Academy is partnered with the College Board, allowing you to practice for the SAT based on your current scores and personal skill set. With all of the changes coming to the SAT, it is important to stay prepared.

Use the Process of Elimination

While this may seem like a very overused and basic rule, it is among the most useful to keep in mind. Once you read all answer choices of a question, start by eliminating the most obviously incorrect answers. Your brain will then feel less overwhelmed by the remaining options, increasing your likelihood of answering the question correctly.

Answer all of the Questions

Although this may sound like an obvious tip, I’m serious. Try your best to get through the SAT quickly, but in the event, you can’t get through the questions in time, bubble in the remaining questions that you missed. Stick with one letter so you’re more likely to get the answer right. Answers B and C are more likely to be right than A and D.

Read Classic Books

If you have the time and patience, I suggest you read some classic books in old English. There will be at least one excerpt that will be hard to understand because of the vocabulary used. The best way to overcome it is to read old English books. This can also help speed up your reading.

Memorize Grammar Rules

Many people who take the reading and writing portion of the test simply pick the options that “sound right” to them. That cannot always guarantee a right answer. Learning even some of the rules can get you through the test quickly.

Memorize Formulas

Yet another tip that some people may find unnecessary. Formulas for the math section can get you through the test quicker than you think. There is also a list of topics that the SAT tests you on.