Common SAT FAQs

Word FAQ in letters on cube dices on table.

How Far in Advance Should I Start Prepping for the SAT?

After you have taken a practice test (diagnostic test), you will know what your current SAT score is. This will give you an idea of how much you will to need to improve by, in order to reach your target score.  The following is a rough estimate of how long you’ll need to study, in order to gain those extra points, to reach your target score.

  • 0-30 point improvement: 10 hours
  • 30-70 point improvement: 20 hours
  • 70-130 point improvement: 40 hours
  • 130-200 point improvement: 80 hours
  • 200-330 point improvement: 150 hours

So, I have taken a Practice Test, What now? 

Make sure to look at the practice test that you have just taken, more specifically the answers you got wrong. Analyze them to see a pattern of the type of questions you consistently get wrong. Example: you may have gotten more geometry questions wrong than algebra, so that you will give you a clue that you will need to ramp up your geometry skills.  Once you have figured out the areas you are weak on, complete practice questions specific to those weaknesses.

How do I Keep From Running Out Of Time on the Test?

If you are running out of time on certain sections, then keep track of your time when doing practice questions. Time yourself and see how long you are spending on each question, and are there specific type of questions that you are spending more time on than others.

Is there a Guessing Penalty on the SAT?

Not anymore. So, it is advisable to answer every question. Even if you guess, you still have a 25% chance of getting the right answer.  If you run out of time on a section, rather than leaving the answer blank, bubble in the letter “C” on all those answers. Pick the same letter for all of them rather than choosing random letters. It’s a probability thing, that if you choose the same letter for say, four of your answer choices then you are more likely to hit on the right answers rather than choosing A for one, and B for another etc.

How Do I Keep From Reading the Question Wrong?

Actively read the question: underline key words in the question will help you fully read what is being asked. Underline the last part of the question. For math questions, that is usually the root of the question.

What if I am not sure which answer to choose?

If any part of the answer is wrong, then the whole answer choice must be eliminated. Often in the English section, the first part of the answer could be right but the second part could be wrong. Also, sometimes there is just one word put in to make the answer wrong. Look for an circle those words. Similarly, in Math, if you have a rough estimate of the correct answer, you can eliminate any answer that isn’t close to your estimate. Or if you know the answer is positive, you can eliminate any answer that’s a negative number. Eliminate wrong answers will increase your chances of choosing the correct answer.

Here’s to your success!

John Dolan







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