Think You Can Wing The SAT – You’re Wrong

You’ve always been a good student. And even when you haven’t always done all the work, you can still get by with a decent score. Indeed, you’ve become pretty adept at winging it, conjuring essays out of thin air. Why should the SAT be any different, you ask yourself? Well, the SAT is different from your run-of-the-mill midterm exam. In this weeks blog, we hear from SAT expert and ExamTime friend Chris Lele. If you are taking the SAT on December 6th or indeed at any time, this article has some important reminder for you.

SAT Traps

First off, the test is full of subtle traps. If you are used to waltzing through a multiple-choice test because it is so easy for you to eliminate the wrong answers, think again when it comes to the SAT Test. To really get the feel of the way the test is constructed and what makes a right answer right and a wrong answer wrong, you’ll have to take some practice tests.

The first time around you’ll catch yourself falling for numerous traps. But once you are able to wrap your head around why you got trapped and how you can avoid a similar trap in the future, you’ll start to score better and better as you take practice tests. Of course, all of this takes effort. Even the most adept amongst us can’t master the test without a little work. As for winging it, you might get a decent score given your innate abilities. But why settle, when a little bit of focused work can take you very far?

Know the SAT sections

Just because you think the SAT Math traps are pretty transparent (you tend to do pretty well in Math), don’t think that logic carries over to either the SAT Writing or the SAT Critical Reading section. With the writing section, you’ll want to pick up on the common grammatical mistakes as well as the way in which the test writers determine that a wrong answer is wrong. For instance, did you know that by simply adding a word to an answer choice in an Improving the Sentence question–an answer choice that is not grammatically incorrect but simply makes the answer choice longer–the test writers can make a right answer a wrong one? Loosely called verbiage, this is one of the many tricks you’ll want to master before the test.

Of course, there is the Critical Reading section, which is even more diabolical. Here, what makes a wrong answer choice wrong is far more subtle. If the answer is “kind of” right, it is almost always not the answer. And it is no easy feat to figure out the logic by which the SAT determines what is a right answer and what is a wrong answer. As for winging it, there are many tempting traps waiting to ensnare you here.

This post was written by Chris Lele, resident SAT expert at Magoosh, a leader in SAT Prep.


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