Education: Ace the SAT – 8 Tips from the Tutor


Every student at some point has to tackle the dreaded SAT or ACT exam. As a private tutor for the SAT, I’ve picked up a lot of tactics and tricks to help students tackle these intimidating tests, and dramatically raise their scores. While some tips are basic test-taking strategies, others are secrets to the test that only tutors and test-makers may know. Print this article out and talk it over with your student while they are studying for their next SAT Exam.

SAT test taking students

8 Tips to Ace the ACT and SAT

1. Underline all the “nots” and “excepts.” Before starting a section, underline all of the “nots” and “excepts” on the page. Many students get tripped up by this tiny word addition. Test takers know this, and try to trick you. Make sure you know what the whole question is asking before you answer it!

2. Read ALL of the answer choices – Never stop just because you found an answer you like. There could be a better one below!

3. Eliminate wrong answers – This seems such an obvious tip, but it is amazing how few students utilize this practice. If a student can eliminate just two out of the four answers, then they have a 50/50 chance of getting the question right. So cross out the obvious wrong ones every time!

SAT stat

4. Don’t be afraid to SKIP questions – Unlike the ACT, the SAT deducts ¼ of a point for wrong answers! The longer you take on a question, the more it hurts you. Don’t be afraid to skip questions and come back to them if you still have time left at the end of the section. It is better to spend your time answering questions you know than to waste time on ones you don’t.

5. It is better to be accurate than to be fast. The first question is the easiest and the last is the hardest, so it’s far better to move carefully through the earlier questions and get them right than to rush and make careless mistakes, only to get tripped up on the harder questions.

6. Keep an eye on the clock! Remember how much time is allowed for each section, so you can have an idea of what question you should be on when. Pacing takes practice, so take a few practice tests before exam day.

7. You can take the SAT more than once. Most students take the exam 2-3 times. So don’t despair if your scores are not perfect the first time. Schools will only see the scores that you choose to send them.

8. Consider a tutor. I recommend that students take the exam once with independent study from an SAT guide. If they score low, then consider getting a tutor for the second try. Most tutors will guarantee a 200 or more point increase in the student’s score. I have seen as much as a 500 point increase!

These tips and strategies work for the SAT, the ACT, or any other type of standardized test. With colleges becoming much tougher on acceptances, it is vital that students focuses on all the strategies they can.

Good luck!

What tips do you have for getting a high score on the ACT or SAT?

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Jocelyn Lieppman

Jocelyn is a recent college grad who is passionate about writing, traveling, and teaching. Right now, she works as a private tutor in Southern California as she explores her career interests. She spends her free time exploring new places and finding new adventures wherever she goes.


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