In any standardized test, the most crucial thing to manage is your time. If done correctly, you will feel at ease and in control when giving the test, instead of feeling rushed and anxious. And keeping time anxiety at bay is critical to achieving your target score. Here are 5 tips from the CollegeEnroll team that will help you manage your time when sitting for the SAT or ACT.

Familiarize yourself with the sections

They say that knowing is half the battle, and that is certainly true when prepping for any test. Regardless of the standardized test you are taking, familiarize yourself with the different sections and how many questions, as well as the type of questions, each section has.

Don’t hesitate to skip questions

Skipping questions is not a sin – you can always come back to any question at a later time. If you’re spending too long on one question, without making headway, you’re probably missing out on other questions later in the test that you may certainly have the right answer to. If you do skip a question, then definitely make sure that the answer to the next one is filled in after you have skipped a line on the bubble sheet.

Pick and stick to your methods

There is no shortage of advice on how to tackle the SAT or ACT best. However, not all of these methods are going to suit you and will only end up losing you time. Do you prefer reading the questions first followed by the articles, then that is what you should do. Prefer to fill in the bubbles as you go instead of circling the answers and filling in the bubbles at the end? That’s fine because there’s nothing stopping you from filling the bubbles as you go. Pick the methods that you are most comfortable with and stick with them on test day.

Wear a wristwatch

On any standardized test, as a rule, the invigilator or proctor will write down the time remaining on a board. However, it’s best to have your own reliable time-teller with you throughout. An analogue wristwatch is the ultimate time management tool when taking a test. Keep the digital wristwatch at home though – you probably won’t be allowed to wear one and even if you are, even a single beep will attract more than just a few displeasing scowls.

Practice, practice, practice

Last, but hardly least, remember that there is no substitute for practice. Take as many practice exams as you can to figure out where you are losing time and which sections are time-friendly. The exercise will also reinforce your familiarity with the test and a pacing style that suits you best.

Remember, standardized tests like the SAT and ACT are part-marathon and part-sprint. Finding your own cadence across the time that is available to you will ensure not only that you can answer as many questions as possible but also that you are not stressed out while taking the actual test.

Key Takeaways

  • Get to know the test, its sections, and the instructions as in-depth as possible in order to figure out how much time needs to be spent where.
  • From skipping questions to tackling one section before the others, do what you must to put yourself at ease and not feel rushed.
  • There is no substitute for taking practice tests – the more tests you practice with, the better idea you have about how to manage your time when taking the real thing.