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10 Tips on Acing Your SATs for College Admission

Written by CB Community

The number of students taking SATs continues to grow every year. Being one of the most competitive tests in the world, SAT hosts over three million global students in its test centers every year.

Your SAT scores can affect your admission and acceptance into a college.

A great SAT score helps you greatly when applying for your dream college, but a substandard score will not get you anywhere near clearing the admission requirements.

With the kind of significance allotted to SAT scores during the college admission process, the stakes for passing the test rise, and put terrifying pressure on the students to succeed.

What is an SAT?

For those who have been living under a rock and have heard of the SAT before, SAT stands for the Scholastic Aptitude Test, which is a standardized test that high school students take before applying to colleges.

The SATs test students’ aptitude and knowledge in the reading, writing, and math categories. Your scores in the individual subject areas make up your overall SAT score, and this score is then factored into your application for college admission where they’ll be compared with the admission requirements.

The higher your SAT score, the better chance you stand of getting into a reputable college. Admission committees consider SAT scores to be a reliable measure of a student’s academic abilities.

Since the people on these committees are specialized in educational leadership, they set their college entry SAT score requirements according to the aptitude standards they require from their incoming students.

Considering how essential your SAT score can be in shaping your future, preparing for the test should not be taken lightly. The SAT comprises four mandatory sections and one optional section.

Reading, Writing, and Math (with or without a Calculator) are the compulsory sections of the test, while the Essay section is optional. Candidates can opt to complete the essay according to their prospective college’s requirements.

To help the students in their upcoming SAT exam, we have presented here the best tips that help you ace each of these sections.


The Reading section tests the candidates reading comprehension and ability to understand the context of the vocabulary used.

This section comprises 52 multiple choice questions related to five passages, and the candidate has 65 minutes to answer them all.

To ace the Reading section:

Skim the Passage Before Reading the Questions

The skimming strategy involves quickly going through the passage on the first read and then moving on to the questions below.

Skimming the passage once will allow you to gain a general understanding of its theme before you get to the questions regarding it.

By adopting this approach, you can answer the questions in a timely manner as you’ll then need to go back and forth between the passage and questions for each question asked.

Set a Specified Time Block for Each Passage

Sixty-five minutes for 52 questions may seem like a generous amount of time, but it can be very easy to lose track of time when you have five passages to read, and related questions to solve, and you cannot discount the anxiety factor which can put a damper on your focus and speed.

Give each of the passages 12 minutes of your time, and then move on to the next one. Save the 5 minutes for a quick revision at the end.

Make Notes

When reading the passage, make quick and short notes in the paragraph margins. Doing so will help you find answers quickly from the passage as you’ll put signposts for where the potential answers will lie in the passage.

Writing & Language

The writing and learning section tests the candidate’s ability to read and edit the text by identifying grammatical errors and incorrect use of vocabulary.

This section is composed of 44 multiple choice questions with a time limit of 35 minutes. To achieve a good score in this section:

Get a Hold on Your English Grammar and Usage

For the most part, the Writing section of SAT includes questions related to grammar and tenses. Learn and practice the grammar, punctuation, and tenses rules.

Also, make use of your knowledge regarding parallelism and sentence structure, and also don’t forget to proofread the passages when you’re done.

Use the Process of Elimination

When you are not sure which answer is correct in a multiple-choice, try reaching the best guess through the process of elimination. Some answer options will seem ridiculous or might be creating other errors in the sentences required to be corrected.

It will be easy to eliminate those choices in case you are unsure about the right answer. In the case that you find two seemingly correct options, choose the one that is more concise and clearer.

Read Grammatically Sound Material

Familiarize yourself with good writing by reading varied but highly authoritative literature and other materials in order to absorb the English lexicons and proper essay structures.

If you consistently read well-written essays and articles, you will be able to identify errors in the passage more easily.


The SAT Math tests a student’s ability to make quick calculations and solve real-world math problems. The No Calculator section of the test consists of 20 questions that a candidate is required to solve within 25 minutes.

On the other hand, the Calculator section has 38 questions with a time limit of 55 minutes.

To do well in this section:

Understand the Question First

Take a moment to understand the nature of the question before diving head-first into solving it. If you fail to comprehend the question accurately and begin solving it anyway, you may very well lose precious time in trying to correct your mistakes later.

Check Answers Before Solving

Checking the answers before working through the question is less time-consuming than solving the question first and matching your answer.

If you know what answers to expect, you can quickly identify your solution is on the wrong track if the answer is deviating.

Know Your Formulas

Memorize, memorize, memorize. The SAT question paper does include some of the formulas but not all. And even if it did, flipping the pages back and forth to check what formula to use for your question can be more tedious than having them all in your head.

If You Get Stuck, Move On

The timings for each section of the SAT are rigid. If you get stuck on a question, move on to another. You may not have enough time to complete the test if you keep thinking over one question. It is better to cut your losses short than risk a total rundown.


The prospect of taking the SAT can be daunting, but the test itself is not impossible to clear. Doing well on your test and getting a great score will require lots of practice and effort.

With the help of our tips mentioned above, you may perform better and get a good enough score to get accepted into the college or university of your dreams.

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.