Basic Rules of SAT II Test-Taking
Basic Rules of SAT II Test-Taking
There are some rules of strategy that apply to all SAT II tests. These rules are so obvious that we hesitate to even call them “strategies,” but we’re going to list them, just to make sure that you’ve thought about them.
Avoid Carelessness
Avoiding carelessness probably sounds to you more like common sense than a sophisticated strategy. We don’t disagree. But it is amazing how a timed test can warp and mangle common sense.
There are two types of carelessness, both of which will cost you points. The first type results from sheer overconfidence. If you speed through the test without a second glance, you make yourself vulnerable to misinterpreting questions, or overlooking answer choices. As you take the test, make a conscious effort to approach it calmly and methodically, no matter how comfortable you are with the material. There’s nothing worse than realizing you lost points due to sloppy mistakes.
Then there’s lack of confidence—a defeatist attitude is your worst enemy when taking the SAT IIs, because if you automatically assume you won’t be able to answer many of the questions, you’ll give up at the first sign of difficulty and sabatoge your score. Even if you don’t feel confident about the material, stay on track and use our techniques for test-taking, and you might find you know more (and get a better score) then you thought you would.
Be Careful Filling In Your Answers
The computer that scores SAT II tests is unmerciful. If you answered a question correctly, but somehow made a mistake in marking your answer grid, the computer will mark that question as wrong. If you skipped question 5, but put the answer to question 6 in row 5, and the answer to question 7 in row 6, etc., thereby throwing off your answers for an entire section . . . it gets ugly.
Some test prep books advise that you fill in your answer sheet five questions at a time rather than one at a time. Some suggest that you do one question and then fill in the corresponding bubble. We think you should fill out the answer sheet whatever way feels most natural to you; just make sure you’re careful while doing it. In our opinion, the best way to ensure that you’re being careful is to talk silently to yourself. As you figure out an answer in the test booklet and transfer it over to the answer sheet ovals, say to yourself: “Number 23, B. Number 24, E, Number 25, A.”
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