Don't Finish Early

No Matter What Your Score Level, You'd Better Not Finish Any Section Early
If you've finished a section early—it doesn't matter how good a test-taker you are—you've rushed. Your goal is to pace yourself throughout each section so that when the proctor says "Stop, put your pencils down," you've just finished answering the last question you were working on or just taken your last buzzer shot guesses.

If you finish a section early, you've sacrificed accuracy for speed, and your score is almost certain to suffer a bit as a result. "But I finished early so I'd have time to look over my work," many students say. Too bad. Nobody in the history of the SAT has ever—and I mean ever—caught a mistake by looking back over his or her work at the end of a section. Invariably students just flip through the pages of their booklet, glance approvingly at their work—what little they've bothered to write down—and then fold their hands complacently, glancing around the room and waiting patiently for everyone else to finish.

Checking your work at the end of a section is a complete waste of time; unfortunately, it's too late at that point to correct the damage—the avoidable errors—caused by rushing. If you check over any work or review any calculations, you'll just repeat the error you made the first time.

Trust me on this point. You have only one small window to catch an error—either just before you make it, as you make it, or just after you've made it. Later you'll learn how to anticipate mistakes before you make them.


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.

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