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Additional Tips for the ACT and SAT

Emma W.

Many students struggle with completing the ACT and SAT in the allotted time. Each section of each exam allows precisely enough time to complete its questions. Students who do not practice time management strategies ahead of time will invariably fall short of completing at least one of the sections. We’ve covered time management strategies in the past, but here are three additional tips to help you make the most out of the time you have on the ACT and SAT.


Understand that questions are designed to be answered quickly

Most questions on the ACT and SAT are designed to be answered in 30 to 45 seconds. No question on any section of either exam should take you more than a minute to answer. This means that your question-answering process needs to be simple and direct. If you find yourself coming up with an elaborate inference on a Reading question or a complex equation on a Math question, you are almost-certainly over thinking that question.


Recognize when to move on

If you hit the minute mark on a question, move on to the next question. All questions have the same point value, regardless of difficulty, and neither exam deducts points for wrong answers. You will get a higher score if you revisit time-consuming questions after you complete the rest. Evening guessing on a difficult question is preferable to losing the opportunity to answer multiple easier questions.


Time yourself across multiple subsections

Most sections of the ACT and SAT are divided into smaller subsections. Once you have perfected your time management skills on a single subsection, expand your timed practice sessions to include two or more subsections. Falling behind can be surprisingly-easy when working with multiple subsections. If you only practice a single subsection at a time, you may find yourself spending progressively more time on each subsection of the real ACT or SAT. This, in turn, will force you to rush through the final subsection or guess on multiple questions. Either of these will negatively impact your score, so practice an increasing number of subsections until you are able to successfully apply your time management system across an entire section of a practice test.

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