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Making the decision to enroll in a private, Catholic high school is an exciting one, but it also comes with its questions and challenges. Light on The Hill is designed to keep prospective and current students — and their parents — up-to-date on news, thoughts, and events relevant to the mission and values at St. Lawrence Seminary High School. 

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St. Lawrence Seminary High School’s Tips and Tricks for SAT/ACT Prep

SLS Resource Library .jpgAs a student nearing the college application process, do you know there are many tips and tricks out there to help you tackle the SAT’s and ACT’s? Familiarizing yourself with as much information as possible will equip you to do your best on exam day. With rigorous preparation beforehand, St. Lawrence is confident you can learn how to ace these exams! Let’s take a deeper look at what these tests are all about and how to you can prepare for these tests.

Standardized Tests Don’t Have to be Intimidating

There are many things you can do to help prepare for a test. These tips can help you improve your concentration and even your performance on any exam, not just the SAT’s or the ACT’s.

  1. Spread out your studying over the course of multiple days, rather than cramming in the last few hours before an exam.

  2. Put the books down early and get at least 8 hours of sleep the night before your exam.

  3. Eat a full, nutritious breakfast the morning of your exam.

  4. Pump yourself up for the exam and be confident in your abilities.

  5. Don’t freak out. Finding the balance between confident, excited and nervous is easier said than done, but it will set you up to be in a great state of mind to tackle an exam.

  6. For tests like the SAT’s and ACT’s, there is an abundance of free practice exams you can review. Take advantage of these!


These generic test-taking tips may seem corny, but they can help improve performance on an exam. It’s important to be aware of your studying habits and the impact they can have on your ability to take tests. Test preparation is half the battle of test taking.  

You Can Do It!

Test preparation is half the battle of test taking. Once you are sitting at your desk with the long scantron sheet in front of you, a whole new battle begins. Besides eating well and getting enough rest, there are some things you can do during the test that will help you be as successful as you can.

The SAT’s contain three sections: reading, math, and writing. Let’s talk a little about what you can expect on the day of your SAT exam.

  1. The morning begins early, so make sure you have all the necessary tools and paperwork prepared the night before. Check out College Board’s Test Day Checklist.

  2. Bubble in your answers on the scantron sheet as you go, but be aware of the answer you choose and the bubble you fill in - make sure they match!

  3. If you don’t know the answer, take an educated guess! The SAT does not deduct points for incorrect answers, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by taking your best guess.

  4. Be aware of the time you spend on each question. Answer the questions you know you know and move on from questions that may consume too much time. This may seem like you are giving up, but what you are doing is being strategic with your time. You can always go back to the tougher questions!

The ACT is a standardized test that measures a student in 5 areas of study: English, math, reading, science, and an optional writing portion.

  1. Be aware of the section time-limits and the total number of questions in each section.

  2. Many ACT test-takers find that using a process of elimination to get rid of blatant wrong answers helps them figure out the right one easier.

  3. Like the SAT, the ACT does not deduct points for incorrect answers, so if the process of elimination doesn’t narrow down your choices enough, take your best educated guess.

  4. The 3-stage method previewing, reading and reviewing can help you get the most out of both the reading and the science reasoning sections.


Subject Area

Total Questions

Time (in minutes)

English

75

45

Math

60

60

Reading

40

35

Science

40

35

Writing (Optional)

1 Essay

40


Knowing how to prepare for each individual test is important and these tips can help you be as successful as you can on the SAT and ACT as possible. You may find that some methods of studying and preparation work better for you than others. Take your time when studying and learn what helps you best. Don’t forget that studying with a partner or even a group can open your eyes to new knowledge and studying methods.

St. Lawrence wants you to keep all of these tips in mind this test season. Always remember to prep well in advance, don’t cram, eat well and get plenty of sleep. Following these tips and tricks will make you feel more confident and ready to ace the SAT or ACT.


 Are you interested in learning more about what it means to invest in a St. Lawrence Seminary High School Education? We made a resource - The Parents Guide to SLS - for parents like you!

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This entry was posted in Academics on November 16, 2017 by Francisco Sauceda