Running short on time before your SAT test date? Here are some things to keep in mind!

Make the best use of limited time

I know this is fairly obvious, but it’s an important point to be made: being on a time crunch for the SAT means you won’t be able to dedicate the same time and energy to study and prep for the exam as you would in an ideal situation.

If you’re on a serious time crunch, you will have to adjust your testing strategy. Don’t worry, we’re going to go over how you can do this — keep reading to find out the best way to pick a helpful SAT crash course.

Focus on Strategy and Quick Tips

With this lack of time, there’s no point in focusing on understanding all of the details of all of the content covered on the SAT.

Instead, work on ways to approach the exam and maximize the number of questions you can get right with the knowledge you have. It’s best if you can focus on understanding general concepts that the SAT will use often, as well as understanding how the SAT is formatted.

Still, if you want some more information about the different concepts covered on the SAT, check out these free SAT resources:

The Best Way to Prepare for the SAT: Practice Tests

The best way to prep for the SAT is to actually practice taking the exam.

Taking practice tests will allow you to get familiar with the content the SAT covers while also actively trying out different testing strategies and analyzing your weaknesses. It’ll also help you understand how quickly you move through different sections and get a feel for your timing abilities when actually sitting down to take a full-length practice exam.

The key here is to not take these tests haphazardly, but instead, try these different strategies to maximize your time:

  • Skim questions before reading the passages.
    • This will help you have a better understanding of what to focus on during your reading (which will improve your reading comprehension) and save you time (which means you can go back and check your work at the end of the section).
  • Don’t dwell on difficult questions.
    • Every question on the SAT is worth the same amount of points, so don’t waste time trying to figure out a really hard question when you can instead answer the easier ones (what’s the point in answering one right if you can’t get to several questions at the end of the section?).
  • Come up with your own answer before looking at the answer choices.
    • Doing this means you will avoid one of the most common mistakes students make on the SAT, which is rationalizing an answer choice (If you ever think to yourself, “Well I guess that could be right,” stop yourself and reconsider your options).
  • Work back from the answer.
    • Stuck on a question? Start from the answer choices and work backwards to see which makes the most sense for the question. This is most effective for the math section, where you can plug in answer choices and check if the math leads you back to the question. Still, you can use this for the Reading section too! See if you can find evidence within the passage to support different possible answer choices before selecting one.
  • Time each question (or sub-section) instead of each section.
    • Since there are so many moving parts, breaking down the SAT into smaller bits makes it easier to manage. Here’s a breakdown of what that looks like:
SectionSAT ReadingSAT WritingSAT Math (No Calculator)SAT MATH (Calculator)
Total Time & Questions65 Minutes

52 Questions

5 Passages
35 Minutes

44 Questions

4 Passages
25 Minutes

20 Questions

(15 Multiple Choice, 5 Free Response)
55 Minutes

38 Questions

(30 Multiple Choice, 8 Free Response)
Time Breakdown75 Seconds Per Question

13 Minutes Per Passage
48 Seconds Per Question

9 Minutes Per Passage
75 Seconds Per Question87 Seconds Per Question
Time and question breakdown for the SAT.
  • Check your work.
    • We can’t stress this point enough. Half the reason you should take practice tests is so you can analyze your mistakes.
    • Identifying points of weakness allows you to better focus your studying, so once you’re done taking a practice test be sure to review any questions you got wrong or struggled with, and make sure you understand WHY you got them wrong, and HOW you can get them right.
  • Schedule practice.
    • Life gets busy, and between balancing school, extracurriculars, college applications, and a social life, it’s easy for some things to slip between the cracks. Because of this, it is important to block out a chunk of time everyday. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should take a full test every day, but it does mean you should do some sort of practice (even a section or two) daily until you sit for the SAT.
    • It might seem like a big time commitment, but all of it will be worth it when you see your hard work reflected in your SAT score. The most important part of this post: consistency is key! Improving your SAT score is impossible without consistent practice, and there’s no way around it.

Don’t know where to find practice tests? College Board provides 10 SAT tests from previous years for students to practice with, these can be found here. In addition, SoFlo tutors provides a free online SAT course where we share tricks for every section of the test: Reading, Writing and Math. If you want to increase your score, you NEED this free class.

Manage expectations for SAT Improvement

This might be kind of hard to hear, but it is important to be realistic given the circumstances you’re in.

You shouldn’t expect to make a 100+ points score improvement after taking one practice test, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see a drastic improvement with the amount of prep you’ve done. Instead, take a small victory and plan out better for next time, which brings me to my next and final point.

Don’t Cram for the SAT

This goes without saying, and again as obvious as it might sound, don’t put yourself in a position in which you will have to cram for the SAT.

This test, just like any other, requires adequate preparation. This means you need time to understand the material, drill yourself with practice questions, and analyze your mistakes as well as revise your testing strategy. So the best way to do well on the SAT, especially if you’re trying to reach close to a perfect score, is to give yourself this time.

Choosing an SAT Crash Course

Now I get it, sometimes life catches up with us, and next thing you know you only have a week before you have to take the SAT. Fortunately, SoFlo SAT Tutors has your back. Check out our online SAT Cram Course.

This course is only $88 and comes with a 50 point money-back guarantee. That means if after watching every video and completing the SoFlo crash course in its entirety, you don’t improve 50 points on the SAT, then SoFlo will refund you the full $88 cost of the course!

Now that I’ve told you all there is to know about cramming for the SAT, we also encourage you to check out the rest of our blog for more test prep useful content.

SoFlo SAT Tutoring

If you have time before your next SAT exam date, consider working with a SoFlo tutor who can guide you through the most important things to know about the SAT. Our tutors attend the nation’s top universities and received top scores on the SAT and ACT. Through one-on-one tutoring sessions, they tutor high school test takers with a tailored curriculum and results-proven SAT prep. Sign up for a free consultation or check out our website for more information.

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