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Tips to Get the Highest Score on the SATs

written by: Nicki H•edited by: Beth Taylor•updated: 10/11/2011

Using these SAT test taking tips will help you get the highest scores possible. Simple strategies such as using the process of elimination, time management, and avoiding common mistakes will improve your SAT score.

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    Complete Easy SAT Questions First

    The easy questions are typically located at the start of each section. Answering these questions first ensures you have plenty of time to work on the more difficult questions. Don’t get hung up on one question; simply move on and if you have time return to the difficult question.

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    Use the Process of Elimination

    If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t worry. Instead, carefully look at each possible answer. Rule out the answers that seem the least likely, which should leave one or two choices. Make your best guess and move on to the next question.

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    Watch the Time Carefully

    Since all questions on the SAT are worth the same amount of points, don’t spend too much time on one question. Since points aren’t deducted for blank answers, it’s best not to guess if you can’t narrow the choices down.

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    Avoid Mistakes

    When answering a question, always double check your exam booklet to ensure you’re filling the answer in the correct place. Getting off track on your answer sheet can cause a ripple effect of incorrect answers, severely effecting your score.

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    Take Practice Exams

    The best way to study for the SAT test is to take practice exams. Get free practice tests at They offer online practice SAT tests for math, writing, vocabulary and critical reading. The more you practice taking the SAT, the more confident you’ll become at problem solving to choose the best possible answer. College Board (the company that administers the SATs) also has a study center online where you can take sample tests and get study tips.

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    Understand which Admissions Test your College Prefers

    Many students wonder if it is better for them to take the ACT or the SAT. When a college lays out admissions criteria, they’ll specify which test they prefer. It doesn’t mean that one test is superior; it’s just the college’s preference. And some colleges allow students to submit either an ACT or SAT score. So if you’re wondering which test to take, you’ll need to look at your potential colleges.