There are a million books out there on how to study for the SAT. But what about how not to study? We’ve compiled a list of common studying and test-taking mistakes that people make when preparing for the big day.
“I should take all my practice tests online.”
Nope! You’ll be better off taking them on an old fashioned piece of paper because that’s how you’ll be taking them on test day. It can help to rewrite or underline parts of a problem, and getting into that habit now will be good for test day.
“I have to learn every word in the dictionary.”
While it’s important to try to expand your vocabulary in the weeks and months before the test, it’s nearly impossible to learn the 10,000-plus words that may show up on the exam. Focus on learning prefixes and suffixes. If you can figure out the general meaning of part of the word, you’ll likely be able to deduce its definition.
“I’ll study for the test whenever I have spare time during the day.”
Most SATs are given at 8 am on a Saturday morning for four hours. You’ll want to make sure your brain is ready to go that early on the big day, so start incorporating a Saturday-morning study session into your schedule.
“I’ll start at the front of the test section, and make my way to the end.”
It’s fine to work your way through the test from beginning to end, but it’s important not to waste time on questions that are tricky. Each question is worth the same amount of points, and the ones you don’t do will net you no points at all. So it doesn’t do you much good if you get caught up on the third question and then don’t get to the rest. If you aren’t sure about a question, skip it and move on to the next. Then, come back to those questions at the end.