Both the SAT and the ACT will put you under a time crunch that you have probably never experienced on any other exam. One of the keys to performing well is to keep calm and pace yourself well. Don’t let the time constraints impact your performance. Here are four ways to manage your time during the exam so that you can be sure to answer all of the questions.
This is the simplest way to make sure your are on track during the exam. Know how long is given for each section, what time the section starts and at what time you should be halfway through. For example, the SAT math section includes 58 questions and allows 80 minutes to complete it. So, if the section began at 10:00 you should be around question 29 at 10:40. If you are behind, you can know to pick up your pace a bit. When you are ahead, you know you have a few extra minutes to spend on the though questions.
The exam tends to move from easier questions to harder questions as the exam progresses. That means that the end of each section could take you slightly longer than the beginning. Plan to move through the first questions as quickly as possible to leave plenty of time to work through more difficult questions.
If you can’t figure out the answer, move on. You don’t want to miss ten questions because you spent too much time trying to get one right. When you skip the question, choose your best guess and fill in the bubble. You won’t be penalized for a wrong answer. If you don’t get time to go back, the answer won’t be blank. This method also prevents you from getting off as you bubble in answers. Instead of leaving it blank, make a quick star in your question book so that you know which questions to go back to.
You cannot learn pacing without practice. It is essential that you practice timed exams in addition to your regular study. This is the only way to have a feel for how quickly you will need to answer the questions in each section. The more you practice, the more you will understand the rate at which you should finish each question. It is one thing to know what your pacing should be and another to feel it intuitively. This feeling will only come with plenty of practice.
The intense time pressure doesn’t have to prevent you from doing your best on the exam. Try these for techniques so that you will perform at your peak without worrying about time constraints.