Test-Taking Strategies
The 15 Most Common Mistakes
As you prepare for the new SAT, keep the following common mistakes in mind. Some are mistakes to avoid when taking the actual test. Others are mistakes to avoid during your preparation for the test.
  1. Looking at the answer choices without having some idea of what the correct answer should be.
  2. Spending more than a minute or so on any one item in a set.
  3. Failing to practice sufficiently—reading this book is not enough!
  4. Refusing to guess when you’ve eliminated one answer choice.
  5. Trying to manipulate equations in your head instead of writing it down and solving it.
  6. Not picking the answer the item asks for. Often this is not the same thing as finding the critical value needed to solve the item.
  7. Answering every item in order.
  8. Rushing through a set instead of thinking each item through.
  9. Refusing to fly Bombing Runs—that is, not doing items out of order based on your assessment of which will be easiest.
  10. Not establishing a baseline score.
  11. Setting an unrealistic target score.
  12. Not building up your vocabulary.
  13. Not creating a study plan.
  14. Not taking a full-length practice test before test day.
  15. Doing SAT prep work the day before the test.
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