Student experts offer advice on standardized tests

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Student experts offer advice on standardized tests

National Merit Scholarship semifinalists Jessie Garbiel and Connor Mukai give advice for preparing for the SAT.

National Merit Scholarship semifinalists Jessie Garbiel and Connor Mukai give advice for preparing for the SAT.

Payton Antonio

National Merit Scholarship semifinalists Jessie Garbiel and Connor Mukai give advice for preparing for the SAT.

Payton Antonio

Payton Antonio

National Merit Scholarship semifinalists Jessie Garbiel and Connor Mukai give advice for preparing for the SAT.

Payton Antonio, Staff Writer

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Hey you! Are you ready to take the SAT? Do you feel nervous or unprepared and need a little advice? Let’s hear what National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, Jessie Garbeil and Connor Mukai have to say about it. 

How did you prepare for the SAT?

Jessie: For the SAT, I prepared mainly for the math section because personally, the reading section is something I can’t really study for and I felt more comfortable with that subject. I reviewed material from previous math classes and anything I didn’t learn from my math classes, I would refer to Khan Academy. 

Connor: I signed up for SAT prep classes during the summer but I found it wasn’t the best resource for me, personally. The tools that worked best for me was UWorld and Khan Academy and with those sites, I answered at least 3 questions a night in preparation for the test.

What are your 3 best tips for first time SAT takers?

Jessie: Don’t stress out about it too much because it’s not like a math test at school where you only have one chance. If you’re not happy with your score, you can always take it again. Do at least one practice test beforehand. Even if you aren’t someone who normally studies for tests, it will at least give you an idea of what type of content to expect on the test, how to time manage yourself during the test, and possibly the range of what your actual score may be. Look up tricks and techniques for each section so you can finish every question with enough time and when you don’t know the answer, you know how to eliminate the options to get the best possible solution.

Connor: Don’t be too hard on yourself. Have a good gage of time. Don’t get frustrated on something that you don’t know. It’s okay to skip it and leave things blank but you should always guess if you have enough time. For the reading portion, it’s always good to get some reading in. It doesn’t necessarily mean you should take reading tests but just doing your homework and reading on your own time will go a long way.

What should you do the day before taking the SAT?

Jessie: It’s a good idea to review anything you weren’t 100 percent sure about or had a difficult time solving. Spend at least 1 to 2 hours studying the night before but don’t stay up late cramming information into your brain, because sleep is way more important. If you’re too tired or get sick, then you won’t have the energy to take the test.

Connor: Eat a nice dinner and go to sleep early. Go over 1-2 things that you feel iffy about but don’t try to cram everything in because it makes you more stressed. It’s best to go into the test feeling relaxed.

What do you think you could’ve done better during the SAT?

Jessie: I’ve never managed to finish the entire math section, so I recommend future test takers to take no longer than a minute on a problem. If you do take up more than a minute, skip it and move onto the next question because if you stay on that one problem, you won’t have a chance to attempt the other questions. You can always go back to the questions you missed, if you manage your time well on the rest of the section.

Connor: I could’ve read more. I got lucky because I was reading a Jane Austen book the month before the SAT and when I took the test, one of the passages was from another Jane Austen novel so I was already familiar with how she writes.