To excel on the SAT and ACT, you not only need to focus on getting questions correct but also be aware of which questions most get wrong. And surprisingly, the most frequently missed questions are not even the most difficult on the test.
Knowing what the common errors are, and learning how to recognize them will help you avoid making those mistakes on Test Day. Here, we’ll take you through the main sections of both exams—providing an example and strategy for each:
Both the SAT and ACT Reading tests contain questions that ask you about implicit information from the passage—that is, information not directly stated but that must be true based on what the passage says.
These inference questions with phrases such as “the author suggests” or “the passage implies”, frequently contain wrong answers that sound logical, but that are not supported with evidence from the passage.
Every question on the SAT and ACT Reading tests will have textual support from the passage; if you have to use outside information to justify an answer—eliminate it!
Though both the SAT and ACT exams include advanced math concepts like trigonometry, the most frequently missed questions are often due to reading the question too quickly. When you’ve tackled a lot of practice problems, it can be easy to start making assumptions about what the question is asking you to solve. Be careful! These assumptions can turn good math into missed points.
In word problems, underline what you’re being asked to solve for. Let’s say the question stem provides information that Sasha drove 4 miles east, 2 miles south, and 5 miles west; and that Vaughn drove 5 miles west, 2 miles north, and 6 miles west. What are you being asked to solve for? The distance between Sasha and Vaughn? The total distance they drove? How many more miles the Vaughn drove than Sasha?
Tempting wrong answers include those which provide the right calculation, but don’t answer what the question is asking for. So before you bubble in your final answer, double-check to make sure you don’t just have the right number, but also the right context.
With the tips above, Clever Academy hope you will be well prepared for the SAT and ACT tests. Don’t forget to follow our blog and website for more useful tips coming soon.