Here at UWorld, we want to support all of the SAT® teachers who are working so diligently to prepare their students for the upcoming SAT exam. That’s why we’ve put together these SAT FAQs based on the input and experiences of our in-house exam experts and SAT tutors at UWorld. This SAT frequently asked questions guide will provide you with valuable insights to support your students with their preparation. From online resources to pacing strategies, handling the SAT reading and math sections, tackling the optional essay, and last-minute preparation tips, we’ve got you covered.
SAT FAQs: What SAT Teachers Want to Know about Exam Prep
What’s the role of online resources in SAT preparation, and how should students incorporate them into their study routine?
Online resources are super helpful for SAT prep. They give students a flexible way to improve their skills. These resources offer practice materials, tests, and expert guidance, so students can study how and when they want. UWorld is one of these helpful resources. UWorld provides a variety of expert-curated SAT practice questions and tests that look just like the real thing. Each question is complete with an answer explanation for not only why answers are correct, but also why other answers are incorrect.
SAT teachers can implement UWorld into their exam prep by including it in tutorial sessions or suggesting it as extra SAT practice. With UWorld, students get a taste of what the SAT is really like. It helps them understand why some answers are better than others. Teachers can also use it to track how students are doing, see where they need more help, and give them targeted practice.
How can students effectively pace themselves through each section of the SAT to avoid running out of time?
When helping students with SAT time management, SAT teachers can share clever strategies for each section of the test.
When doing the SAT’s reading section, students have to answer 52 questions in 65 minutes. These questions check how well they understand what they read and their vocabulary. If they find the first part of a passage hard, they can skip it and come back to that passage later if there’s time. This is called “prioritizing the passages.” Also, if students find certain questions about a passage really challenging, they can skip those and do the easier ones first. Answering other questions in the passage successfully, can help students understand more of the passage, and the hard questions might seem easier when they return to them.
When helping students with the SAT Writing and Language section, teachers should stress the importance of managing their time wisely. There are 44 grammar and usage questions to answer in just 35 minutes, so pacing matters. If a question is too hard, students can skip it for now and return to it later if there’s time left. This way, they can tackle the questions they’re more comfortable with first. It’s a strategy to make sure they answer as many questions as possible within the time limit and do their best on the test.
When helping students with the SAT math section, remember it covers various math topics like algebra, geometry, and more. There are 58 questions in total. With a calculator, students get 80 minutes; without, they have 25 minutes. One helpful strategy is for students to spend about a minute on each question, we call that the “first pass.” Start with the easier questions and save the tough ones for later. If a question seems extra hard and time-consuming, they can mark it in their test booklet with a circle and move on. This way, they can manage their time better and increase their chances of answering all the questions.
What’s the most efficient way to approach the SAT reading section, including strategies for dealing with different types of passages?
Getting your students ready for the SAT reading section, with all its different passages, can be easier than you think. They have 65 minutes for five passages, so that’s about 5 minutes for each – not more, not less. Going over 5 minutes might slow them down, and rushing can make them miss important information they need to answer a question.
Tell your students to grab the main idea of the passage right away when they read it. Students should also start with the easiest passage, not the first one they see. This can make students feel more confident. Questions in each passage have different levels of difficulty, so doing the easier ones first can be a smart move.
Students should remember to never, ever skip a question. Even if they plan to come back to it, they should take a guess and mark it for later. Remember, students won’t lose points for guessing.
What are the best strategies for tackling the SAT math section, particularly for the more complex problem-solving questions?
One of the first things SAT teachers should encourage their students to do is learn the 12 important formulas that are used–and provided–in the SAT. Memorizing these is a simple way to help students save time during the exam because they won’t have to keep flipping to the front of their test to view the formulas.
Practice resources are a must. Good ones, like UWorld’s Online Preparation for the ACT & SAT Exams, are helpful because not only do the questions mimic those on the real SAT test, but each answer to a question comes with detailed explanations to help students build their understanding. When they make mistakes, SAT teachers can encourage students to think of it like learning from a game. Instead of getting frustrated, they can look at the questions they get wrong and take on the exciting challenge of figuring out why.
Students should also learn to annotate and underline important information in the questions. This helps them stay focused on what each question is really asking. Also, remind students to manage their time. Timed practice tests can help them develop pacing skills for the exam, as well. After all, students shouldn’t spend too long on one question; they need to keep moving.
What’s the best approach to utilizing the process of elimination for SAT multiple-choice questions?
Using the process of elimination strategy for SAT multiple-choice questions is a helpful approach for students facing challenging questions. This method has stood the test of time because it is so effective. Here’s how to use it:
First, students should try to think about the right answer before eliminating anything. This helps prevent random guessing and gives them an idea of what the correct answer might look like.
Next, when they start eliminating choices, tell your students to find a mistake in each answer they want to remove. Emphasize that elimination should be based on a clear reason, not just a gut feeling. Remember, any error in an answer choice makes the entire choice wrong. With practice, students will become better at spotting these errors quickly.
The big advantage is that by eliminating wrong choices, students increase their chances of selecting the correct one. Even if they only eliminate one wrong option, their odds of getting the question right improve significantly. This strategy can help students tackle tough SAT questions with confidence.
What’s the role of vocabulary in SAT preparation, and how can students build a strong vocabulary?
Vocabulary plays a role in SAT preparation, but students don’t need to memorize lots of strange words. The SAT mostly uses words from college or professional settings, and often, you can figure out their meanings from the sentences around them. So, it’s important to teach students how to use clues in the text to understand new words.
However, spending some time on vocabulary is still a good idea, especially focusing on words commonly found in college-level materials. This helps students recognize words quickly, making them read faster and with more confidence.
To boost your students’ vocabulary and their ability to understand words in context, you can use online SAT prep resources like UWorld’s Online Preparation for the ACT & SAT Exams. These tools provide SAT practice questions and reading passages that can help students build a stronger vocabulary and prepare effectively for the SAT.
What should students do in the final week leading up to the SAT to maximize their performance?
In the week leading up to the SAT, students should focus on a few important things to be fully prepared:
- Practice Regularly: Keep practicing SAT-style questions and take timed tests. This builds confidence and sharpens test-taking skills.
- Review Tough Topics: Spend time revisiting challenging topics and questions encountered during preparation. This can improve performance.
- Rest and Nutrition: Ensure students get adequate sleep, especially the night before the SAT. Eating balanced meals keeps their minds alert.
For educators, using UWorld is beneficial during this week. UWorld offers SAT practice questions resembling the real exam. It helps students assess their readiness. Teachers can assign practice tests or specific questions to address weak areas, and UWorld provides detailed explanations for learning from mistakes. Teachers can track students’ progress and identify areas needing more attention.
On the day before the SAT, students should relax and avoid cramming. A brief review of important strategies and formulas is useful. Ensure all necessary materials, like IDs and admission tickets, are organized. Most importantly, get a good night’s sleep for peak performance.
What are the most common traps and pitfalls that students should be aware of when taking the SAT?
To do well on the SAT, students need to watch out for some of the most common traps and pitfalls:
- Time Management: Managing time poorly can lead to unfinished questions and rushed decisions. Students should practice with timed tests to get better at this and reduce stress on test day.
- Bubbling Mistakes: To avoid marking the wrong answers on the answer sheet, students should circle their choices on the test booklet and transfer them at the end of the section. This saves time and prevents errors.
- Misreading: Careless reading can lead to mistakes. It’s crucial for students to actively read and, if they catch themselves forgetting what they just read, going back and re-reading that section.
- Use Your Test Booklet: Remind students to mark up their test booklet with annotations, underlines, or notes, especially for math formulas.
- Don’t Leave Blanks: Students should never leave answers blank. Even if they’re not sure, guessing is better because there’s no penalty for wrong answers.
- Review: If there’s spare time at the end of a section, students should use it to review their answers and make sure they haven’t left anything blank.
Starting SAT prep early, using online resources, and seeking help when needed are also important. Avoiding these pitfalls and preparing smartly through practice and understanding core concepts can lead to better SAT scores and test-day success.
What’s the significance of the SAT score range, and how can students set realistic score goals?
The total SAT score ranges from 400 to 1600. The two main sections, EBRW and Math, each go from 200 to 800. To set realistic score goals, students need to understand this score range. A score of around 1060 is the national average.
Here’s how students can set good goals: They should look at the middle 50% SAT scores of the colleges they want to go to. This shows the scores of the students from the middle who got in. Then, they should find the highest score in the 75th percentile for their dream schools. This is the goal score for those colleges.
As SAT tutors and teachers, we know you have a challenging job helping your students do well on the exam. We, at UWorld, hope these SAT FAQs and their answers provide you with useful information and strategies to share with your students so they can reach their SAT goals.
Find out how using UWorld’s Online Preparation for the ACT & SAT Exams can help you get your students ready for the SAT.
- Managing your time on the SAT or ACT. Get Schooled. (2023, April 11). https://getschooled.com/article/4901-managing-your-time-on-the-sat-or-act/#:~:text=Give%20yourself%20eight%20minutes%20per,with%20five%20minutes%20to%20spare.&text=This%20means%2C%20read%20the%201st,answer%20in%20the%20passage%2C%20etc.
- Admin. (2023, January 13). 5 Must-Know SAT Reading Tips. Kaplan Test Prep. https://www.kaptest.com/study/sat/5-must-know-sat-reading-tips/
- Sarikas, C. (2019, December 31). The 16 best sat math tips and tricks. The 16 Best SAT Math Tips and Tricks. https://blog.prepscholar.com/sat-math-tricks
- Sorensen, T. (2022, March 28). The optional sat essay: What to know – U.S. news & world report. U.S. News & World Report.https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-admissions-playbook/articles/what-to-know-about-the-optional-sat-essay
- Christian, & Name. (2017, January 20). A pro tutor explains how to eliminate on the SAT & Act Tests (for perfect scores!). Love the SAT Test Prep. https://www.lovethesat.com/elimination-on-the-sat-and-act-tests#:~:text=If%20you%20just%20eliminate%20an,each%20answer%20choice%20you%20eliminate.
- College Board. (2023). Sat Vocabulary. SAT Suite. https://satsuite.collegeboard.org/sat/whats-on-the-test/reading/sat-vocabulary#:~:text=All%20of%20the%20words%20you,often%20in%20college%2Dlevel%20assignments.
- Wignall, A. (2022a, December 22). Common Mistakes Students Make on the ACT/SAT. College Raptor Blog. https://www.collegeraptor.com/getting-in/articles/act-sat/common-mistakes-students-make-act-sat/
- Muniz, H. (2023, April 19). SAT Score Range: 3 Steps to Understanding Your Score. PrepScholar. https://blog.prepscholar.com/sat-score-range