Like all exams, the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), a requirement for entry to US colleges and universities, has easy, medium and hard questions.
The easy ones are like warm-ups. They get you started with questions you can easily find answers to. And many test takers do get the answers right.
Easy SAT questions make up one-third of the entire SAT. And because this portion is easy, many students breeze through the first part of the test.
But don’t be fooled. That’s just the appetizer. The main course will follow soon after.
The next one-third of the SAT consists of questions that are not too easy and not too hard. These are the medium questions.
This is where the whittling portion starts. Figures show that only half of test takers will get the right answers to medium questions. That’s why concentration is more important in this section.
Then, of course, comes the part with the difficult questions. This is the main course, the one which the “appetizer” and other dishes have been leading up to.
Usually, this final one-third of the SAT is the test taker’s nemesis. The nature of the questions makes it hard for many test takers to make it.
“The strategy here is to answer the medium questions first. They’re easier and more likely to give the student more correct answers, and therefore result in a higher score. This will hopefully pull up the student’s final score,” says May Jingco, SAT Coordinator and Branch Coordinator at Ahead Tutorial and Review Center.
Now, that’s as far as the nature of the questions is concerned. The next problem is, how do you comprehend the questions asked in the SAT? This is a big challenge in itself, whether the question is easy, average or difficult.
The student must not only read fast enough, given the time pressure involved. He must also get the drift of the question, or, in the case of the Reading Comprehension section, the passage itself.
“One tip is to read the whole question first before answering. This will allow the student to fully understand what is being asked of him,” advises Jingco. Many a student has failed because he did not understand the instructions or questions at all.
The student can even write down notes on a scratch paper to better grasp the instructions or the passage he is being asked to read.
What is the main topic? What is the writing style? These will be useful guides in answering questions about the passage. Better to rely on these notes than on memory alone, which can be unreliable in times of stress like during the SAT.
And finally, practice makes perfect. Check out SAT practice tests and try answering all the questions, or better yet, enroll in a systematic review course for SAT, such as the one offered by Ahead Tutorial and Review Center.
The student who practices taking the SAT religiously will get used to the SAT style of questions. Nothing beats preparation ‘ for the SAT, and all kinds of tests, easy or not.