Test Preparation


Getting ready for the ACT/SAT can begin as early as 9th grade.  Longwood 9th-12th grade students have online access to Method Test Prep which is linked on our home page at Clicking Here. This FREE on-line resource may be used all year long, particularly during the summer months. Students can determine whether or not they want to take the SAT or the ACT, based on the results of their practice exams which are provided on the Method Test Prep site. 


Other Resources: - Free SAT and ACT Prep

Get help with Standardized Tests, GED, CLEP, AP, SAT, ACT and more with Learning Express,

a database provided through the Library!

SAT Test Prep:

ACT Test Prep:



Tip #1

You will take ten sections but only nine of the ten will count towards your score. Three math sections, three critical reading sections, and three writing sections will count toward your score. The extra section, which will not count, could be either math, verbal, or writing. Unfortunately, you will not know which section this is.

Therefore, you need to try your hardest on all ten sections.

Tip #2

Do the easy questions first and don't rush through them. They count just as much as the harder questions.

Tip #3

Try to eliminate wrong answers. If you can eliminate 1 or more answers, then you should guess.

Tip #4

Getting a good night sleep after studying helps put all of that newly learned information into long term memory.

Tip #5

Timing is important. You don't want your score to be lower due to the fact that you were not able to finish the sections in time. The best way to deal with this issue is to do the practice sections timed. Get used to how much time a section lasts and how quickly you need to work to finish.  

Tip #6

All sections of the SAT go from easiest to hardest except for the critical reading section. This means that on the math sections you should not rush just to get to the end of the section. The last few questions on each math section are the most difficult to get correct. If you have to omit a few questions, those are the ones to omit.

Tip #7

If you are having trouble finishing the verbal sections in time, you should skip the last couple of sentence completion questions so that you can get to the critical reading questions a few minutes earlier. Remember that the critical reading questions do not go in order of difficulty so the last few questions might not be too difficult. If you get to the end of the critical reading section with a few minutes to spare, then go back and try the last couple of sentence completion questions.

Tip #8

Do not read the critical reading passages for too long. Only take between one and two minutes to read the long passages quickly. Just read enough to get a main understanding of the arguments or points the author is making. Once you get to the questions, you will be going back to the passages anyway to search for the right answer, so it doesn't make sense to read for too long.

Tip #9

The rule on when to guess: If you can ever eliminate at least two of the answer choices so that you have only three or two answers remaining as possibly correct, then you should definitely guess. If you cannot narrow it down to three choices, then you should just omit the question. The reason for this rule is that a correct answer on the SAT counts as +1, an incorrect answer is -1/4, and omitting a question is just a 0. So, in short, three choices or less, answer the question; more than three answer choices, leave it blank.

Tip #10

Small point- you don't lose points for guessing on the "grid-in your answer" math questions.  So you should put down an answer for every one of these questions.

Tip #11

Learn vocabulary!!! One of the best ways to raise your SAT score from the last time you took the test or from your PSAT score is to learn more words. Go to the vocabulary builder portion of this course and click on "Take Quiz." Whenever you get a question wrong, make a flashcard for that word. Have a rule that you are going to learn 30 words per week. If just ten of the 200 words you learn appear on the SAT, your score could go up by 100 points!

Tip #12

The breakdown of critical reading questions on every SAT is this: 19 sentence completion and 48 critical reading questions. Make sure you have practiced a ton of reading passages-they are over 70% of your critical reading grade!

Tip #13

Know what information they give you at the start of each math section. There are many formulas that are given to you. You don't have to memorize them; just make sure to go back to them when you are asked a question involving one of these formulas.



Strategies for a Higher Score

The essay accounts for 30% of your SAT writing score (the grammar portion is the other 70%) and is its own separate score on the ACT.  Here are some strategies for a higher essay score:  

Write a longer essay- It has been shown that longer essays tend to get higher scores. 

 Know the topics you will write about- You don't have a lot of time to think about what you will write about.  Therefore, go into the test with some "go-to" topics.  For example, To Kill a Mockingbird is a great book to write about because the themes of the book are relevant to almost any essay.  Other books that fit many different essay topics are: Lord of the Flies, The Great Gatsby, and The Catcher in the Rye.  Try to have one topic from history that is a "go-to" topic.  For example, I know a lot about World War II, so I will often write a paragraph about how World War II relates to the topic.

To save time, write a short introduction and a short conclusion- You only have 25 minutes to write the essay.  Spend the majority of the time writing the body paragraphs.  This is where you will support the main point of your essay with specific examples.

Use a range of sentences when you write- For example, you don't want your essay to sound like this:   The simple fact is that you must try to be productive each day.  The reality is that you can't take life for granted.  The key is to realize that each day is a gift. In this example, the writer starts every sentence with "the."  The writing sounds repetitive.  This is what you want to avoid.  

Stick to the topic- This sounds obvious but so many students forget it.  The essay topics are going to be broad so that you don't need any specialized knowledge on a particular topic to score high on the essay.  Also, you do not have to write in any particular style.  As long as you stick to the topic, you can write a persuasive, argumentative, humorous or other type of essay.

Use a few interesting words- Your essays doesn't need to be chock-full of long, complicated words but it should have at least a few.  Use obstinate instead of stubborn, ambivalent instead of unsure, or disingenuous instead of dishonest.

Watch out for spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes- If you have one or two of these mistakes, it is no big deal.  But if you have more than a few, your score may suffer. 




Memorize these rules and you will raise your score!


It is extremely important to know and memorize the basic rules of exponents. The two most important rules of exponents are:

(n3) x (n4) = n7

(n3)4 = n12

Study these two rules of exponents now until you have them memorized, as they will not be given on the tests.

Here is a sample question that tests your knowledge of these rules:

Ex. 1: If n5 x nk = n15 and (m4 )b = m8 , then what is k + b?

To figure this question out, we have to use our two basic rules of exponents. According to the rules above, when you have, (n3) x (n4) = n7, you add the exponents:

n5 x nk = n15

5 + k = 15

k = 10

According to the rules above, when you have (m4 ) b = m8, you multiply the exponents:

(m4)b = m8

4 x b = 8

b = 2

The question is asking us for k + b, so the answer is 12.



Don't be Average- Prepare for Average Questions!


Students willencounter the concept of “average” on the SAT and ACT. Most students have memorized that the way to find the average of a group of numbers is to add them up and divide by the number of numbers:

Average = Sum of the Numbers
The # of items

What many studentsdo not realize is that if you multiply the average times the number of items, you will always have the sum of the numbers:

(Average) x (The # of items) = Sum

For example, if you have 5 numbers and their average is 30, then the sum of the numbers must be 150:

(Average) x (The # of items) = Sum

(30) x (5) = 150

Thesetests provide the student with the average, but requires the student to figure out the sum. Remember, students can LISTEN to a real tutor explain strategies like this in the lessons section of both SAT and ACT Method.



Method Test Prep

The Psychology of Being Successful on the ACT and SAT

As educators, we need to recognize that a student's mentality on test day is important because the ACT and SATare much more thanjust tests of skills and concepts.Here are some practicaltips that I share with my students tohelp them stay relaxed and allow them to perform their best on test day.

1. The ACT and SATare tests of repetition. The key to success on these testsis practice. Just like a great shooter in basketball practicing jump shots, a student who does great on these testswill need to practice important reading, writing, and math concepts among other things. The more practice you put in, the more confident you will be on test day. I encourage my students to do one full practice test per week in the four weeks leading up to either their ACT or SAT.

2. Don't be intimidated. These tests design questions to look worse than they really are. If you remember this as you head into the test, you will not panic when you come across a difficult question. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that the question is probably not as hard as it looks.

3. Harness your competitive nature. Treat these testslike a game or a sport and you will probably perform better. Remember, the test makers are trying to trick you and you are trying to avoid being tricked. These tests are not overly difficult butthey arevery tricky and you have to be determined to watch out for every detail.

4. The ACTand SATare rarely“do-or-die” tests. Students find it comforting to remember that you can always take the test again. In fact, many seniors are still taking these tests in their senior year. The point is that many students end up taking these teststhree times. Remembering this should help you to relax on test day and perform your best.

5. Correctly answering the easy and medium questions will allow most students to get a score they will be happy with. Students find it comforting to know that they do not need to answer the hard questions to get the score they want.

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2022 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.