Going to high school in the midwest where the ACT is many colleges’ primary focus, I was completely unprepared for the harsh realities of the SAT. Taking the test with very limited knowledge of its structure, constraints, and preparation requirements, I was in every sense of the words confused and bewildered during the test.
Take heed these warnings I hereafter give, for they may save your skin.
1. Memorization matters more than comprehension.
Unlike the ACT, in which the answers to most questions are present somewhere in the text provided, the SAT primarily tests your prior knowledge of its material. Assuming you’ll be able to deduct the answers using only critical thinking is a huge mistake, and will most likely result in tears of agony, regret, and frustration. Before taking the test, ensure you are already familiar with concepts like factorials, heroic couplets, dramatic irony, mathematical proportions, etc.
2. Vocabulary begets vocabulary.
Knowing the meaning of only the vocabulary term being asked about is almost never enough. The format of the SAT requires that you know the definitions of nearly all the choices of vocabulary words, in addition to the word in question. If the word in question is “diegesis,” it would be remiss of you to expect the available correct answer choice for its antonym to be “showing.” Rather, “imitatio” or “mimesis” would most likely be in its place. Again, prior knowledge of word lists is vital to your performance; deductive reasoning skills alone are insufficient.