Home > School and Learning > By Grade > High School > SATs and Other Tests > The SAT Is Not Like Your School Tests
|

The SAT Is Not Like Your School Tests

I'm sure you know kids who don't do so well in school, yet somehow manage to ace standardized tests like the SAT. And you probably know other students who do really well in school, yet when it comes to the SAT these same students don't do nearly as well—and sometimes even bomb the test completely.

Why do so many bright students have so much trouble on the SAT? Because taking the SAT is nothing like taking tests in school. I mean nothing like it.

  • To take one obvious example, school tests rarely last more than an hour.
  • Not the SAT. On the SAT you've got to stay mentally focused for over three hours.

  • On school tests, your teachers give more weight to the more difficult questions. So it makes sense to spend more time on those questions than on easier ones—they're worth more.
  • Not on the SAT. On the SAT, all questions are worth the same, so it doesn't make sense to spend more time on hard questions. But that's exactly what most students do.

  • On school tests, your teachers generally give partial credit for partial answers. If your answer to a long, complicated math question was mostly right, except for a "silly mistake," your math teacher would probably give you nearly full credit. If your answer on an English test was not the one the teacher was looking for, but you made a good argument for it, your English teacher would give you at least some credit—possibly full credit for originality!
  • Not on the SAT. There's only one right answer for each question, and no partial credit for anything else. On the SAT there's no such thing as just a careless mistake since any mistake costs you full credit, and then some.

Those are just a few of the many differences between the SAT and the tests you're used to taking. They may seem to be minor differences, but these differences will have a major impact on how you'll have to change the way you take the SAT if you want to achieve your maximum score.

Trust me: even if you're an excellent student—

  • if you solve SAT math questions the way you're used to solving math questions in class
  • if you read SAT passages the way you're used to reading novels or even your textbooks
  • if you compose an SAT essay the way you're used to writing essays in English class
—then you're in for a rude surprise on the SAT.

You'll need to learn a whole new set of skills for the SAT. Indeed, many of the academic and test-taking skills that lead to success in the classroom will work against you on the SAT.

|

From The RocketReview Revolution: The Ultimate Guide to the New SAT and the PSAT by Adam Robinson. Copyright © 2005. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

If you'd like to buy this book, click here.


highlights

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

8 Products to Help Your Family Go Plastic-Free
How can you minimize your family's exposure to harmful chemicals and lessen your impact on the environment? Try swapping out some of your everyday plastic products with these non-plastic alternatives.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks