Basic SAT Hacks For Test Day Success

10 Secrets To Raise Your Child’s SAT Score 200 Points
Join Prep Expert Founder & Perfect SAT Scorer Shaan Patel!
Free Class

No matter how many practice tests they take, plenty of students still get nervous on the SAT test day. The good thing is there’s plenty of basic SAT hacks you can use beforehand to build up your confidence and final score.

Use these 6 basic SAT hacks to improve your final score AND finish every section on time.

Learn how to prepare for standardized tests with our year-round SAT prep and ACT prep courses today.

sat hacks

Answer Everything

Don’t leave any blank bubble behind.

Just like the ACT, the SAT doesn’t have a guessing penalty. What that means is you need to fill in every answer bubble…even if you can’t figure out the correct answer at all.

It doesn’t matter in the end, because going by the law of averages, a certain percentage of those guesses will be correct. Every correct guess is worth more points than zero points for skipping completely.

Skip Hard Questions For Later

Finish what’s easier first.

Timing is everything on the SAT; each section only allows so much time to answer questions and that’s it. That means you don’t have time to linger on difficult questions with easier ones waiting to be answered.

Go through and answer all the easier questions first, then double back to tackle the harder ones. Even if you have to guess, you’ll have a better chance of getting more questions correct than not.

Have A Passage Reading Plan

Know how to tackle Reading passages beforehand.

Take practice tests to figure out what you like to do. Common strategies include:

  • Skimming the entire passage first
  • Reading the questions first then referencing back to find answers

Again, the only way to know what works for you is to take a couple of practice tests under timed conditions and go from there. That way you can dig into Reading passage questions fast and efficiently.

Choose The Concise Answer

On the Writing section, concise answers are where it’s at.

The Writing section often values writing that gets straight to the point. That’s why if you’re stuck on which answer to choose, look at the ones that are the shortest in length.

More than likely, those will be the ones that say everything necessary without superfluous words. This tip may not apply to every single question, but it’s a good rule of thumb to go by when eliminating answer choices.

Memorize Important Formulas

Have the most helpful ones committed to memory.

Even though the SAT provides a reference key for formulas you might need, don’t become too dependent on it. Again, remember that this section is timed, so every second does count.

More importantly, you have to deal with the No Calculator section, which forces you to do everything by hand. The questions shouldn’t be too crazy but don’t waste time answering them by going back to the reference sheet again and again.

You’ll finish the test faster and more confidently by having important formulas already memorized and ready to use immediately.

Plug-In Answer Choices For Math Questions

The answer is in front of you, so work backward to find it.

The best part about multiple-choice tests is that the answer is already in front of you. When it comes to the Math section this is a great way to tackle questions that are stumping you the regular way.

If you’re working on a question that you’re not sure how to answer but understand how the problem works, then plug the choices in to see if you get the stated solution. It can eat up time, so use it as a last resort if all else fails.

For more test strategy, college admissions, and scholarship application tips sign up for our FREE class happening right now!


Join Prep Expert Founder and Perfect SAT Scorer Shaan Patel for this exclusive event!