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Mythbusting the SAT

Common misconceptions about the test—and tips for how students can best prepare for the SAT!

MYTH: The SAT tests a student’s intelligence and scores are a reliable predictor of college academic performance.

FACT: SAT scores reflect a student’s skill at taking the SAT (and their prep time), but studies are mixed on scores as a prediction of college success. Regardless, standardized test scores remain a key component of college applications, so it’s important for college-bound students to do well, and choose a test date that leaves them time to prep.*

MYTH: Advanced math concepts are tested on the SAT.

FACT: The math section on the SAT includes a lot of algebra, some arithmetic, statistics, and geometry (only 6 geometry questions at most). That’s it! Math concepts that students do NOT need for the SAT include: calculus, logarithms, matrices, and geometric proofs.

MYTH: A student’s SAT reading score is what it is.

FACT: The SAT Reading Test comprises 50% of a test-taker’s SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) score. While it is essentially a test of reading comprehension skills, there are a lot of strategies students can use to increase their scores: getting familiar with the test format and types of reading passages; expanding vocabulary, including multiple meanings of words; and by honing critical reading skills. The SAT Reading Test measures a student’s understanding of words in context and their ability to understand subtext.

MYTH: If unsure of the answer, students should leave it blank rather than guess and risk an incorrect answer choice.

FACT: The “guessing penalty” disappeared when the College Board redesigned the SAT in 2016. Test-takers receive 1 point for every correct answer; 0 points for every question unanswered; and 0 points for every incorrect answer. If a student can identify even one wrong answer choice, they’ve increased the odds of guessing correctly. Because there is no longer a guessing penalty, no answer should be left blank.

*The Princeton Review SAT/ACT Essentials can be found at no cost in all library accounts as well as Coast Guard families using For more information on test prep support, visit

One Response to Mythbusting the SAT

  1. DMC November 17, 2017 at 1:49 AM #

    good article in terms of breaking alien barriers about SAT . people think its too difficult all you have to do is to follow the guidelines above

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