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Score Big on SAT: Maximize Your Success and Boost Your Score by 20% with Amy's 17 Tips

May 7, 2024

The SAT is a critical step on your journey to college, and mastering it requires a blend of knowledge, strategy, and confidence. Whether you're aiming to score high for scholarships or gain admission to your dream college, understanding the best answering techniques for the SAT can be a game-changer.

SAT going digital

Starting in 2024, the SAT will be administered in a digital format, presenting a shift from the traditional paper-and-pencil approach. This change brings new challenges and opportunities for test-takers. The digital format allows for features like highlighting, flagging questions, and easy navigation through sections. Familiarize yourself with the digital tools through online practice tests and simulations.

SAT tips and tricks

Navigating the SAT requires more than just knowing the content. It's about understanding the test structure, managing your time effectively, and using smart tactics. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

1. Understand the question types

The SAT is a standardized test that assesses college readiness and is comprised of different types of questions that range from multiple-choice to grid-ins. It is important to familiarize yourself with the various question types in order to better understand what to expect and approach questions with confidence. In addition, studying for the SAT through practice tests, review materials, and tutoring can greatly improve your scores and overall readiness for college. It is also worth noting that many colleges and universities use SAT scores as part of their admissions process, so it is important to take this test seriously and put in the effort to do your best.

2. Time management

During the SAT, it is important to keep an eye on time. The clock is your constant companion throughout the test, so it is essential to practice time management. This can be achieved by setting limits for each section of the test, and allocating an appropriate amount of time for each question. It is also important to remember not to get stuck on a single question for too long, as this can eat up precious time that could be used to answer other questions. Instead, it is recommended that you move on to other questions and come back to the difficult ones later on. By doing so, you can ensure that you use your time effectively and maximize your chances of achieving a high score.

3. Process of elimination

When it comes to multiple-choice questions, it's important to remember that even if you're not entirely sure of the right answer, you can still increase your chances of getting it right. One effective way to do this is by eliminating obviously incorrect answers, which can help narrow down your options and make the right answer more apparent. By taking a strategic approach and eliminating the options that are clearly wrong, you can give yourself a better chance of selecting the correct answer and achieving success on the exam or assessment. So, the next time you're faced with a multiple-choice question, remember the power of elimination and use it to your advantage!

4. Educated guessing

When you encounter a question that you are not certain about, do not panic. Instead, utilize the process of elimination technique to eliminate the answers that are not plausible. This will enable you to narrow down your choices and increase your probability of selecting the correct answer. Remember, an educated guess is much better than a random guess. So, take your time and carefully consider each option before making your decision.

5. No penalty for guessing

In the revised SAT, there is no penalty for wrong answers, which means that test-takers have the opportunity to take more risks and potentially earn more points. This change in policy may also encourage students to approach the test with a more positive attitude, knowing that they will not be penalized for guessing. Moreover, this policy change reflects a broader shift in educational philosophy towards valuing learning through experimentation and learning from mistakes. By eliminating the penalty for wrong answers, the revised SAT is promoting a mindset of exploration and discovery, which can ultimately lead to better academic outcomes for students.

SAT reading answering tips

The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) section of the SAT demands a strong grasp of language and analytical skills. Here's how to excel:

1. Skim and scan

To ensure that you fully comprehend the content of the passage, it is recommended that you quickly read through the text to grasp the main idea. Once you have a general understanding of the topic, you can then refer back to the passage to search for specific details when answering questions. This approach will enable you to have a more comprehensive understanding of the content and help you answer questions more accurately. Additionally, by taking this approach, you will be able to get a better sense of the author's tone and purpose, and identify any underlying themes or motifs that may be present in the text.

2. Annotate

It is important to develop the habit of underlining or jotting down key points and main ideas while reading. This not only helps you to better understand the material, but also makes it easier to locate important information during the question-answering phase. Additionally, taking the time to actively engage with the text in this way can help to improve your retention of the material, making it more likely that you will be able to recall the information at a later time. So, next time you are reading a text, make sure to take a moment to underline or jot down the key points and main ideas - your future self will thank you!

3. Watch out for traps

When taking the SAT, it is important to be vigilant when answering questions. Answer choices that may appear to be correct may not necessarily be supported by the passage. As a result, it is important to thoroughly read and analyze the passage before selecting an answer. It is also essential to be aware of the existence of tricky distractors that the SAT often includes in their tests. These distractors are designed to deceive test takers and lead them to select the wrong answer. Therefore, one should be cautious and avoid making assumptions while taking the SAT.

SAT writing answering tips

The SAT Writing section tests your ability to identify and correct grammatical errors, improve sentence clarity and concision, and analyze the organization and development of a given passage. To excel, it's important to review grammar rules, practice identifying and correcting errors, and focus on writing clear and concise sentences. With practice and a solid understanding of the test format, you can improve your performance in the SAT Writing section and boost your overall score.

1. Review grammar rules

To improve your performance on language assessments, it is highly recommended that you brush up on the most common grammar rules. These rules are the foundation of the language and are essential to effectively communicate your thoughts and ideas. By dedicating some time to study sentence structure, punctuation, and subject-verb agreement, you can greatly enhance your ability to understand and use the language. This will not only help you achieve better scores on exams, but also boost your confidence when communicating with others in both formal and informal settings.

Moreover, when studying grammar rules, it's important to look out for common errors such as subject-verb agreement mistakes, incorrect verb tenses, and misuse of pronouns. For example, a subject-verb agreement mistake would be saying "The group of students was arguing" instead of "The group of students were arguing" when referring to a group as a plural noun.

2. Maintain concision and clarity

When faced with a multiple-choice question, it is advisable to choose the answer option that presents information in a clear and concise way. Therefore, in order to make an informed decision, it is necessary to evaluate each answer option and determine which one presents the information in the most straightforward and easily understandable manner. By doing so, you can ensure that you are selecting the best possible answer and maximizing your chances of success.

3. Focus on relevance to the passage

In order to demonstrate your full understanding of the passage, it is important to ensure that the answer choice you select fits cohesively with the context and theme presented in the passage. This means that not only should your answer be factually accurate, but it should also maintain the overall flow and coherence of the passage. Additionally, by taking the time to carefully consider each answer choice and how it relates to the passage, you can demonstrate your critical thinking skills and ability to analyze complex texts. In doing so, you can effectively showcase your comprehension and mastery of the material presented.

SAT mathematics answering tips

The SAT Mathematics section is a crucial part of the test, requiring a combination of mathematical skills and strategic thinking. To perform well, it is important to master different techniques, such as:

1. Plug and chug

The "plug and chug" technique is a helpful strategy for solving algebraic equations on the SAT Mathematics section. This technique involves plugging in each answer choice to see which one fits the given problem.


Given the equation \(2y + 7 = 15\), solve for \(y\) by directly substituting the values and performing the necessary arithmetic.

✅ Solution:

  1. Start with the equation \(2y + 7 = 15\).
  2. Subtract 7 from both sides to isolate \(2y\):
  3. \[ 2y = 15 - 7 \\ 2y = 8. \]
  4. Divide both sides by 2 to solve for \(y\):
  5. \[ y = \frac{8}{2} \\ y = 4. \]

So, the solution for the equation \(2y + 7 = 15\) is \(y = 4\).

Since these two solutions for y do not match, we know that x = 1 is not the correct answer. We can then repeat this process with the remaining answer choices until we find the one that fits the problem. The "plug and chug" technique can be particularly useful for algebraic equations with multiple variables, and can help you narrow down the correct answer quickly and efficiently.

A student using calculator
A calculator is the best resource for solving SAT math questions.

2. Use the calculator wisely

While calculators are useful for solving complex mathematical problems, it is important to not rely solely on them. Mental math can be a valuable skill that can save time on simpler problems and improve one's understanding of fundamental concepts. Practicing mental math can also be beneficial for the brain, as it requires critical thinking and creativity. By knowing when to use the calculator effectively and practicing mental math, one can improve their math skills and become a more efficient problem solver.

3. Work backwards

When it comes to solving algebraic word problems, it's important to know different approaches that can help you arrive at the correct answer. One such approach is backsolving. This method involves plugging in the answer choices into the problem itself, one by one, to see which one works. This can be particularly useful when the problem seems complex or when you're not sure how to proceed with traditional algebraic methods. By using backsolving, you can narrow down the possible answers and increase your chances of getting the problem right. However, it's important to note that backsolving may not work for every problem, and it's always a good idea to have a variety of problem-solving strategies in your toolkit.

SAT essay answering tips

Taking the SAT Essay might be optional, but it is highly recommended to take it in order to improve your overall score. You can follow these simple guidelines to make sure you ace it:

1. Craft a clear and structured essay

One of the most important things to keep in mind when writing your essay is to make sure your ideas are presented in a clear and structured manner. Be sure to include an introduction, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion. This will not only make your essay easier to read, but it will also help you stay on track and focused throughout the entire process.

2. Provide relevant evidence

Including relevant examples from literature, history, or personal experience can greatly strengthen and enhance your essay. These examples provide evidence for your claims and make your writing more engaging for your audience. To find these examples, spend time researching and gathering information, including reading books and articles related to your topic. Additionally, consider the historical context of your topic to add weight to your arguments. Including relevant examples in your essay can make it more persuasive and compelling to your readers.

3. Stay focused on the prompt

Make sure you address the prompt directly and avoid straying off-topic. When writing, it’s important to keep your main argument in mind and stick to the point. One way to stay on track is to create an outline before you start writing. This can help you organize your thoughts and ensure that each point you make is relevant to your main argument. Additionally, you can use transition words and phrases to connect your ideas and make your writing flow more smoothly. Finally, be sure to provide plenty of supporting evidence to back up your points. This can include examples, statistics, and expert opinions. By following these tips, you can ensure that your writing is both thorough and focused.


1. How to prepare for the new SAT 2023?

To prepare for the new SAT 2023, there are several things that you can do. Firstly, it's important to understand the test format thoroughly so that you know what to expect on test day. This can involve familiarizing yourself with the various sections of the exam, including the Reading, Writing and Language, and Math sections. Once you have a good grasp of the format, it's also important to practice with official sample questions. This can help you to get a sense of the types of questions that you'll be asked, as well as the level of difficulty that you can expect. Finally, it's a good idea to develop effective time management strategies. This can involve breaking down the test into manageable sections and allocating your time accordingly. By doing all of these things, you can be well-prepared for the new SAT 2023 and improve your chances of getting a great score!

2. Is there an essay section on the SAT 2023?

Yes, the SAT 2023 test comprises of three sections: Reading, Writing and Language, and Math. Additionally, there is an optional Essay section that students can choose to take. This Essay section allows students to showcase their writing skills and is highly recommended by some colleges. In fact, several colleges even require students to submit their SAT essay score as part of the application process. Therefore, it is advisable that students check with their desired colleges to confirm their essay policies before taking the SAT test.

3. What does SAT stand for 2023?

The Scholastic Assessment Test, commonly known as the SAT, is an important standardized test that high school students in the United States take in order to apply for colleges. The test is designed to evaluate the student's skills in reading, writing, and mathematics, and is widely recognized as an important factor in college admissions. In addition, many colleges use the SAT scores to determine eligibility for scholarships and other financial aid. The SAT has undergone several changes over the years, including updates to the test format and scoring system, but it remains an essential part of the college application process for millions of students across the country.


Mastering the SAT requires dedication, practice, and the right strategies. By following these answering techniques for the SAT in 2023 and 2024, you can confidently tackle each section and maximize your score potential. Remember, preparation is the key to success. To supercharge your learning journey, consider signing up for Aha's AI-powered learning platform. Gain access to high-quality sample questions, personalized study plans, and smart analytics that identify your weak points, making your SAT preparation not just effective but also efficient. Embrace the power of smart learning today!

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