Expert Tips on How to Prepare for the SAT and ACT Tests, Part 2: Scoring


The following is part 2 of our 4-part series on SAT/ACT test prep.

Part 2. Learn the scoring and format.

These tests are generally longer and formatted more weirdly than tests you encounter in school so you should do some additional research. You have to know how it’s formatted, how it’s scored, and how it’s administered so that you can turn all of that into a strategy to help you do better.

Should I guess?

If you know the SAT takes a quarter point off for wrong answers, you should only guess if you can eliminate at least one choice.

However, since the ACT does not take any points off for wrong answers this means you should guess on every question, whether you read it or not.

Should I skip questions?

You should know before test day that the SAT will have one section with 8 problem solving questions and 10 “grid in questions” and that in this section questions 6, 7, and 8 will be hard but 9, 10, 11 will be easy, thus you should skip the harder ones and work on the easier ones first.

You should know that the ACT is not in order of difficulty so you should skip any question you don’t understand right away and mark it to come back to later.

You should be prepared with an action plan for the ACT reading that has identified which of the four types of passages (always: prose fiction, social science, humanities or natural science and always in that order).

The more you know, the more prepared you are and the easier the test will be.

–>Continue to Part 3: The Content.
–>Review Part 1: The Environment