Taking the PSAT soon? This guide will surely help you up your score to that 720 on your Reading and Grammar Section! The strategies will still apply, but you will have less questions to have to answer 🎉
Tips & Tricks to get an 800
Although scoring an 800 on the SAT humanities sections seems virtually impossible, it is most definitely achievable with the proper preparation! With a little hard work and a carefully planned strategy, your chances of earning the elusive "perfect" score will skyrocket! To help sharpen your testing strategy and approach, we've compiled a list of top strategies, insider tricks, and important things to look out for on the SAT humanities sections!
🚀Disclaimer: Following the strategies will not guarantee you, alone, an 800 on the SAT humanities section. These are merely tips to help you on your path to SAT success. Ultimately, the SAT curve determines the criteria for scoring an 800, and it is slightly different for each test.
#1: Be Wary of Tricks ♣️
Since the SAT is a national test, it has to "level the playing field" between test-takers. This means that it cannot test students on their understanding of highly complex literature or their knowledge of obscure big words. Instead, the College Board tests simple topics but uses clever tactics designed to trick and confuse students 🤔
The biggest trap on the SAT reading is the classic "two right answers" situation. There are often two answers to a reading question that both seem correct, but there is always only ONE fully correct answer. It takes a sound understanding of the question and the text to ultimately decipher the correct answer. Learning the types of questions on the SAT reading section
, sharpening your critical thinking skills, and applying these skills to actual exam questions through practice is an excellent way to improve your ability to differentiate between the two "right" answers.
Curious about the types of Questions on the SAT Reading Section? Check out the:
#2: Know Your Weaknesses🚨
Do you always run out of time? Do you always miss comma rule questions
or inference questions? Do you fall victim to the "two possible answers" trap? In order to get an 800 or super high humanities score, you must be aware of the little weaknesses that cost you points on the test. Correcting these small issues can have a profound impact on your overall performance. Having a clear idea of the test scenarios/questions that you struggle with the most essentially provides you with a study path towards increasing your score.
For example, if pacing yourself on the test is your biggest weakness then you should spend extra time doing timed practice exams. If you struggle with content such as comma rules or inference questions, then it would behoove you to spend your time becoming an expert on comma rules and doing practice inference questions instead of repeating timed practice exams.
Not sure where your weaknesses are? Join Lisa Wang to stream 📽️ the Whole SAT Reading + Grammar Section
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#3: Hype Yourself Up💪🏼
On this exam, confidence is key! It seems trivial, but self-assurance is so important. Throughout your test, hype yourself up, convince yourself that you've got this because it's true! Often times students will second guess themselves and change a bunch of answers after they have completed the section, costing themselves a hefty amount of points. Statistics show that your first gut answer is often correct. Unless you can logically disprove your original answer and prove that your new answer is correct, always trust your gut and have confidence in your answers!
#4: Eliminate Wrong Answers🚫
If you come to a question and you don't know the answer, trying to eliminate three of the answer choices is a wonderful strategy. Take a logical approach to every answer and find its flaws. If you can confidently distinguish three wrong answers, you have by default found the correct answer. Some possible flaws to look out for include:
These are some common flaws found in SAT humanities answer choices. The flaws that ultimately debunk an answer choice depend on the question. For example, if a question is asking about the overall significance or importance of the passage, an answer choice focusing on a specific detail would not be correct, but if the question is asking about a specific detail, then obviously a broad answer choice can be eliminated.
#5: Find a Reading Technique that Works for You📖
There is no one "best" way to tackle the passages on the SAT humanities sections. Every student's brain consumes information differently, making it impossible to say which approach will work for everyone. The table below explains several reading strategies to help find the best option for you!
🃏SAT Reading Strategies
|Strategy||How-To||Critical Skills||Possible Pitfalls|
|Skimming||Skim the passage & begin answering the questions. The questions will provide line numbers which you can use to refer back to the passage if you need to re-read any information. ||Must be able to have a general understanding of the information without reading every single word in the passage||If you don't skim effectively, you may find yourself spending too much time going back and forth between the questions and the passage|
|Read Questions First ||Read the questions first. Then skim the passage, marking specific lines/words mentioned by the questions and any important details. When you reach a significant detail/group of lines, slow down and really make sure you understand the information.||Skim effectively, this strategy works best for experienced/well-practiced test takers because in order for it to work, you need to have a good understanding of the types of questions you are being asked||It is possible to mis-interpret the meaning of information which can lead you to incorrect answer choices. This one can also be time consuming if you spend too much time thinking about the answer choices instead of finding information in the passage. |
|Annotate the Passage + Answer ||Read the passage in detail, annotate anything you think could be important, and answer the questions.||This strategy is good for students who are excellent at reading for understanding, meaning that they can swiftly read a passage and understand it. ||You risk wasting time consuming insignificant information with this strategy. The questions may never reference any information in lines 10-20 of a passage but with this strategy you would be spending precious seconds reading those lines. You may misinterpret the passage and the notes you take may not directly correlate with the questions. |
Want more specific skills and strategies? Check out:
#6: Dive Deep into your Mistakes 🥽
When reviewing what you miss on practice questions, it is not enough to simply say "I made a silly mistake" or "I read that wrong" or "I don't know what I did, I'm so silly" and move on. Always ask yourself the "why" behind what you did wrong. What made you think that was the answer? Why did you read that wrong? What caused you to make that silly mistake? Asking yourself these questions will help dramatically increase your understanding of your performance but also the test itself.
The College Board designs these tests to trick students so by assessing your mistakes at the deepest level, you will be able to spot these little SAT booby traps and know how to avoid them on future assessments. Also, ask yourself "how" you can fix that mistake and then follow through with appropriate practice (this goes along with tip #2). Understanding every mistake you make will help you avoid it in the future!
Here's a nice list of what to review after you get back a score from a Practice Test or Real SAT/PSAT:
What questions did I get right? (Were they all Vocab in Context or Inference?)
This question is first because it lets you know what you did right and how awesome you actually did on your test 🤩
What questions did I struggle specifically with? (Did you just make stupid mistakes or do you need to work on analyzing the context of the passage?)
This step is super important and can help you review what skills to refine before your next test 💪
What sections were your strongest and weakest? (Do you need to work on Math or Reading more?)
This step is more general to see where you need to do practice sections from before your real PSAT or SAT to get your 1520 or 1600, respectively! 📰
And that's a wrap, six top tips and strategies to help you reach that elusive 800 on SAT humanities! Ultimately, only you can decide the best methods and strategies, but hopefully, these suggestions help guide you in your preparation for your next SAT exam! Best of luck on your test, you've got this! 🙌🏼