Test Tips

Take the SAT Subjec Test when the content is fresh

For subjects like Biology, Chemistry, US History and World History, you should consider taking the test at the end of the year (May or June).

Educational guesses are okay

If you can eliminate one or two of the questions, statistically it is beneficial to guess for the SAT exam.  You are NOT penalized if you guess on the ACT exam.

Take the Writing exam

The ACT exam offers an optional Writing exam.  Several campuses across the nation require the Writing exam, but not all.  Take the Writing exam to play it safe.

Answer the easier questions first

Hard, medium and easy questions are all weighted equally for both the SAT/ACT exam.  Most of the easier questions are at the beginning of each section.

Do not rush

Read each question carefully and mark your answer sheet with care.


Use a soft lead No. 2 pencil with a good eraser.  Do not use a mechanical pencil or ink pen; if you do, your answer sheet cannot be scored accurately.

Critical Reading/Engish section

Be aware of the writing style used in each passage.  Pay attention to tone or emphasis throughout the text.  Read and consider all of the answer choices before you select the best response.

Mathematics section

Make sure you answer the question asked.  Make sure your answer is reasonable.  Check your work.

Use your calculator wisely

Use a calculator you are familiar with.  Be aware of what types of calculators are prohibited for each SAT and ACT exam.  The rules are NOT the same. 

Writing section

Make sure you understand the prompt question.  Decide what point of view you will express.  Write your ideas down and organize them.  Focus on the topic, use specific examples, present counterarguments, use transitional words and phrases and end with a strong conclusion.  You will be judged on how well you communicate rather than your point of view.


Rules for registration and test day policies are constantly changing.  Read all the instructions and don't be at a loss on test day.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Make it a goal to study at least 20 minutes a week and take a full practice test at least once a month.  If you are unhappy with your scores increase the frequency.

Test Day

Go to bed early the night before.  Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to find parking or, better yet, get dropped off at the test site.  Eat a good, healthy breakfast.  Make sure you have all your documentation and identification that meet the requirements for SAT and ACT.  Arrive 30 minutes early and bring healthy snacks, bottle water, extra number 2 pencils and extra batteries for your calculator.
St. Ignatius College Preparatory

Courage to Lead; Passion to Serve

2001 37th Avenue San Francisco, CA 94116
(415) 731-7500
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