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Timing on the ACT and SAT

One of the hardest parts of standardized testing is timing. Getting the questions right is one challenge, but being able to answer them in a short amount of time is another. Luckily, there are ways for students to perfect their time management skills in order to make the most of what little time they are given on the SAT and ACT exams

Starting out, setting goals for each section can be a great way to track your progress when taking standardized tests. By having a benchmark for where you should be by each section’s halfway point, you will be able to keep yourself on track. Wearing a watch and paying attention to proctors during the test are good ways to know how much time is left.

One of the biggest mistakes test takers make on the SAT and ACT is to focus all their energy on one difficult question. It is important for students to know that they shouldn’t waste too much time on a single question. If they find themselves stuck, it is okay to make an educated guess and move on to the next question. The SAT and ACT do not penalize guessing, so it is better to make a guess than to leave a question blank. Make a small mark next to each question you guess on as a reminder to come back to it later; should you have time at the end of the section. A good test taker knows when to move on before getting caught up and losing precious time on a challenging question.

Practicing good test-taking skills at home when doing standardized test problems is the best way to improve your timing. Setting a timer while doing practice problems ensures that you will   always be aware of the limitations you’re under. Take note of when time runs out as a way to see how much improvement is needed before the live exam. Taking a full, timed exam every few weeks is a great way to get a feel for the live exams and experience the full extent of the time limits imposed during the SAT and ACT exams.

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