The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for SAT/ACT Prep

Your score on the SAT or ACT will have a direct impact on your college or university career. Many colleges and universities base admission, to some degree, on your test scores. The better score you have, the more choices you will have for college and university entrance. You will also have a better chance of receiving scholarships and grants to get a good test score.

Here are 10 things you can focus on to get your best possible score.

1. Vocabulary

The SAT focuses a lot on your knowledge of vocabulary. The critical reading section and the essay writing is a determining factor in your final score. The more impressive your vocabulary is, the better you will score on these sections.

One way to improve your vocabulary is by doing a lot of reading. If you come across a word that you do not know or know well, look it up. Building your vocabulary will help you to break down reading passages and improve your writing.

2. Read and Write. And do it again.

The more time you spend reading and writing, the better you will become at it. Reading will build your vocabulary as you come across new words, help you see different writing styles, and introduce you to new ideas. It is a good idea to read the material you enjoy as well as some things you find boring. This will help to improve your critical thinking skills.

After you read, practice writing skills by summarizing or commenting on what you have read. This will help you to become better at expressing your ideas.

3. Use available study materials

Find some SAT and ACT prep books and put them to use. You will find test-taking tips, practice questions, reading examples, essay prompts, and more. Take advantage of the materials you can use to help you prepare and do your best..

4. Practice, Practice, Practice!

Practice tests are available to help you prepare. You will learn the style of questions asked and the kinds of prompts used for writing. This will also help you to identify any areas you may struggle with so that you can focus your studying in a way that will help you to do better.

5. Understand and memorize formulas

Sometimes you will be provided with formulas at the front of the test booklet. Though this is convenient, it can also waste time if you have to keep flipping back and forth in the exam book. If you have formulas committed to memory, it will save you time. It is also easier to apply formulas that you understand..

6. Don’t cram. It creates stress.

Make sure to organize your time to study a little bit each day leading up to the test. Trying to cram the night before will create undue stress that will not have a good result.

7. Show your work.

Writing things down will help you to find a mistake if you get lost with what you were doing. It may seem silly to write out simple math problem steps, but you will be glad you did if you have to go back and check your work.

8. Drawing a blank on a math problem? Write some notes.

If you come across a problem that you are stuck on, write out the information you have. Underline important parts of the question and make diagrams to help you. Keeping your pencil moving will help to keep your mind engaged.

9. Consider the other side.

Anytime you write an essay, you need to think about the counterargument. When you acknowledge the other side of the question, your writing will become more mature and well-thought-out.

10. Analyze and Eliminate.

When you are doing multiple-choice questions, the answer may not be evident right away. You can start by eliminating the answers you know for sure are incorrect. Remember, wrong answers do not count against you, so never leave a question blank.

The Bottom Line

It is important to prepare for the SAT and ACT in a way that works for you. Go through all of the tips and tricks and make a plan. Focus on areas where you are weaker and do your best!

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SAT sample questions
American College Test

Alice Moore