How to Separate the Good from the Bad on the SAT – Part 4

There are so many tips to help you pick out the right answer from the wrong ones during the SAT. Yet, of course, practice is vitally important to make sure that the lessons learnt from these tips stick! Believe it or not, the SAT reading and writing sections are not indomitable – in fact, with careful reading and understanding of the SAT itself and how the test makers think, you can avoid some of the traps that they set!

This point cannot be emphasized enough. The SAT does not simply test your ability to find pieces of information in a passage, but rather your ability to take it to the next step and understand those pieces of information — the tone, the underlying message, and the language to determine now just what the text is saying, but also how the text is saying it. In part 4 of our series on identifying the right answer from the wrong ones, here are more tips and tricks that you can use on the SAT!

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[Continue reading to find out more on how to pick the right answers…]

1. The right answer doesn’t require your imagination! I am sure most of us are able to easily imagine that some of the answers could be the right one…if we give it a little push with our imagination. But, a key point to remember is that the answers in the SAT can all be supported by text from the passages!!! The best answers on the SAT do not require you to do any creative thinking (that is best reserved for the essay section). So if you ever find yourself saying, “Hmm this is such an interesting idea!” or “Cool, maybe the author is implying that this could be the case”, then that answer is probably not the right one! The SAT does not require you to be super creative, so don’t think that you will be rewarded for picking the most innovative answer.

2. The right answer can be the most obvious answer. Sometimes, I’ve heard friends and even myself question the seemingly right answer because it seems too easy. Yet, don’t be afraid of the obvious answer! There is no set difficulty level in the SAT. One section may be easier while another section may be more difficult, so don’t make judgments about the “supposed” difficulty. So if you see an answer that seems to be the right one, just go ahead and choose it! But of course, as with every answer, make sure that this ‘right’ one is clearly supported by textual evidence as well!!!

GOOD LUCK!!!

Additional Reading:

Please check out my next posts on this 6 part series on how to separate the good from the bad on the SAT:

Please check out my previous posts in this series:

About the author: Shimin Ooi is a junior in Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs department. She has a strong interest in economic and health policy and has recently returned from a semester of study at Hertford College, Oxford. In high school, her extensive research on standardized tests helped her achieve a near perfect SAT score and perfect scores on each of her SAT Subject tests. Through these blog posts, she hopes to help others achieve test-taking success as well!

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