How to take the SAT Test

A Step-by-step Guide to Taking the SAT

SAT is all about assessing a student’s readiness for college and hence it acts as a valuable tool for college admissions in the U.S. SAT primarily tests the academic skills acquired during high school. It is commonly known that plenty of resources are available today for training the students to exhibit a maximum performance in SAT. Nevertheless, how to take the SAT test is a big unanswered question popping up regularly in students’ minds and this article answers the same.

Different Sections in SAT:

To learn how to take the SAT test, one must know what SAT consists of. SAT test comprises the following sections:

  • Critical reading
  • Writing
  • Mathematics

SAT Test Taking Tips:

The official website of College Board offers a number of guiding principles on how to take the SAT test.

Critical Reading:

Critical reading contains reading passages and sentence completion questions. Here are some guidelines focusing on how to take the SAT test’s reading segment.

  • Reading passages are a bit time consuming when compared to the sentence completion questions. To fully read the passage, comprehend and then answer the questions require quite a deal of time depending on the students’ potential, unlike sentence completion which can be done quickly. Hence it is generally advised that students finish off the sentence completion questions and then move on to passage reading.
  • However, it is to be noted that each sentence completion question has its difficulty increased than the preceding one, whereas the reading questions are just based on the passage with no order of difficulty as such.
  • Read the given passage carefully and attempt to answer the questions only after reading and understanding wholly. A mere glimpse on the passage is equivalent to not reading it. Always keep in mind that half-knowledge is precarious.
  • Another valuable tip is that, reading questions with words excerpted directly from the passage have the relevant line numbers of the passage for quick reference.
  • If you are stumbling on a word, try and relate it to familiar words or situations.


This section can be classified into essay-writing, sentence completion and sentence/paragraph improvement. Following tips guide you on how to take the SAT test’s writing segment.


  • Read the essay title carefully. It gives a clue on what your essay should be all about and what needs to be covered exactly in the essay.
  • Ponder over the topic for a few moments and frame your opinion. Contemplate on how to present your points of view in a neat and classified manner. If you had had enough of practice in essay-writing, then this must be the easiest of the sections.
  • The essay must be crisp and clear. Examples can be quoted if they are meaningful and absolutely necessary.

Sentence Completion and Sentence/Paragraph Improvement:

  • If a guess could not be made for a multiple-choice question and you are sure that you are going wrong with it, it is better to leave the question unanswered and move on to the next one.


This section of the SAT test has multiple choice and grid-in types of questions, chiefly on math areas like arithmetic calculations, algebra, geometry, and probability. Few directions to tackle the math part:

  • Know where to begin. Read the problem carefully, identify what is given and what is asked. Now, make a good start with the solution. All that starts well ends well!
  • The biggest plus is that the test book will contain all the formulae at the beginning of each math section. Hence, students are freed from memorizing and they are at liberty to choose the best fitting formula for a question.
  • Jot down calculations or anything of that sort in the scratch-book given. It helps greatly in cross-checking your work.
  • Sometimes, eliminating wrong answers from a list of choices is easy in finding the correct answer!

Having discussed how to take the SAT test, it is to be noted that these are generic guidelines given by College Board for taking the SAT and may not apply to all candidates or all SAT exam situations. Each candidate is unique and hence there is no thumb rule on how to take the SAT test even though the exam pattern is predefined. With practice, students will come to know their own way of handling the SAT sections which will always bring out the best in them.

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