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Our Best SAT® & ACT® Test-Taking Tips

Individual taking a standardized testTaking the SAT or ACT soon? We’ve compiled our ten best test-taking tips, from how to tackle the essay to reminders about the resources provided on each exam. Review the full list before you take your SAT or ACT.



MEFA's Test-Taking Tips:

  1. Be sure to listen carefully to the instructions, particularly about how to fill out the answer form.

  2. Read through written directions at least twice before starting on a test section to ensure you understand them.

  3. Read each individual question slowly and thoroughly.

  4. Manage your time wisely. Figure out what types of questions will take you the longest and be sure to give them enough time.

  5. Avoid getting bogged down on difficult questions that can cause you to use up all your time. Do your best, and move on.

  6. Don’t rush through multiple choice. Force yourself to read each possible choice carefully before selecting an answer. Remember, some choices appear correct at first glance but turn out to be wrong when you take a closer look.

  7. Some sections will ask you to read a passage and answer a few questions based on what you read. The correct answer will always come from the passage. Don’t get distracted by answers that are not included in the passage text.

  8. On the essay:

    • Choose one side of the argument and develop reasons why you chose that side.

    • Use two or three well-developed examples/reasons instead of multiple unfocused examples.



  9. Use the resources provided. The SAT includes the math formulas right on the test (but be warned that the ACT does not).

  10. Remember to relax and take deep breaths throughout the test. You will get through it!


Make sure to check out our timeline to make sure you’re on track with all your college planning. And if you have any questions, you can email us at collegeplanning@mefa.org or call us at (800) 449-MEFA (6332).





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