Pacing for SAT Reading can be challenging. If you’re reading this SAT Reading post, you might be a week, a day, or even an hour from your SAT. Whether you’ve been studying for months and are just looking for a few new suggestions to eke out those last points, or you haven’t touched a book yet and are taking the test tomorrow, the last minute advice below will help you through the SAT Reading section.
[See also: the Top 5 SAT Math Tips]
[And here’s: the Top 5 SAT Writing Tips]
SAT Reading Tip #1: Don’t spend too much time reading the passage.
You should be able to read through an SAT passage in 3-4 minutes. Anything longer and you will likely be compromising your time on the questions. Read the passage through once to get the main idea, then move onto the questions.
SAT Reading Tip #2 If you’re zoning out, change the way you’re sitting and try again.
Even top scorers will find themselves losing focus at times on Test Day. Don’t panic! If you’ve been reading a passage with upright posture, then try slouching a little or leaning to one side as you read. If you’ve been slouching, sit up straight. A simple adjustment like this will usually solve the problem and help you refocus on the task at hand.
SAT Reading Tip #3: Do a time check after the third passage.
When you’re through the third passage, you should have around 25 minutes left on the section. Otherwise, you should speed up! The SAT Reading Test is 65 minutes long and typically has 5 passages and associated questions. This means you need to spend 13 minutes per passage on average.
SAT Reading Tip #4: Answer easier questions first.
Every passage will have a range of difficulty in its questions. If you’re stumped on a passage, try finding quick, easy questions to answer. These might be ask about vocab words or have line references for you to quickly locate the answer in the text. Once you answer these, you’ll have a better understanding of the passage and can tackle the harder ones with ease.
There’s no guessing penalty on the new SAT, so you should make sure you answer every single question. If you need to skip a question, put a star next to it in your test booklet and enter a temporary guess on your answer grid on the off-chance you don’t have time to come back to it later. You don’t want to be scrambling to put random guesses to your skipped questions as time is winding down!