This Simple SAT Prep Tip Could Raise Your Score DRAMATICALLY (It Did Mine!)

The SAT is a mindfield of test-taking skills mixed with content knowledge

There are SO many companies out there right now submitting practice SAT questions and plenty of people touting a high score if you master their approach – we know. We’ve gone through it again and again with study material and our students.

The SAT is a test mixed with test-taking skills and basic content knowledge from high school to the first year of college. However, this test was made to be accessible no matter the background of the student. We’ve seen high-achievers in high school absolutely bomb the SAT because they relied too heavily on content knowledge, and we’ve seen typically average students master it. So, what’s the difference between these students? How can you ensure a great score?

Test-Taking Skills is a Habit, Not Learned Overnight

Personally, many of us here at Planting Seeds Tutoring & Test Prep believe that the SAT was created for colleges and universities to pick out the habitual studiers who are creative about their achievements. Hard work pays off in everything, however universities want to know that you are going to work smarter than the average student. Thus, the SAT is an exam which thoroughly tests your ability to find right answers in a short amount of time…not whether you know more than your peers!

The content on the SAT can generally be boiled down to 9th grade concepts worded in a very difficult way. It tests critical thinking ability, and we have a tip that will aid your score dramatically.

Trust us. It raised our score when we practiced the SAT in order to *prove* this method.

I want you to imagine a box

Imagine every question on the SAT is a box. There are key words in the questions that will alert you to how large or small the box is, and what “color” it may be. For example, on the Reading section of the test, oftentimes the questions will include terms like “line 44” and “most nearly means.” 

This describes how large your box is – specifically, your box is around line 44 of the passage. What “color” of the box doesn’t matter, because the SAT is all black-and-white.  What we mean is that the subjective language on the test legit means zilch. Nada. Zero. Cross it all out in your questions! There is only one right and wrong answer, undoubtedly. Eliminate words in the question that will color this box. Terms like “most nearly means” is actually saying, “this one answer exactly says…” and so on. This is a bit different when it comes to the math section, but similar principles can be applied for word problems. 

The answer you need fits directly inside that box with the question. This is because every single answer in the SAT needs to be proven correct without error so an answer cannot be disputed and therefore, if you find the confines of the box (through identifying key words), you find the exact answer at the same time.”

This Method Takes WORK, PEOPLE

We have tested the box method many times – and we have proven that it will bring up an SAT score. You have to get creative for applying it to sections other than reading (that’s the easiest example, truly) but it does aid with math questions that may be difficult to visualize. 

1) Identify the key words in the question that establish the limits of your question

2) Mark out any words that appear to be subjective (i.e. “most nearly”)

3) Check to see if the answers fit into the box (does the answer come from the same place in the passage? Does it fit with what is being asked in the word problem?) 

4) Pare down the answers that do not fit – especially if you are needing to guess (*remember, wrong answers penalize you, so eliminating answer choices aids tremendously)


We Host an SAT Test Prep Workshop in Austin, would you like one too?

We offer small-group tutoring on Saturday mornings from 8am-10am at Bushy Creek Community Center, particularly for the Reading section. Sign up by contacting us today! We use REAL SAT questions and explain HABITUAL question-answer formats on the test to provide you a foolproof way to prepare for the PSAT or SAT. 

We also offer test prep online and in person in San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, and Houston. 

Would You Benefit from Tutoring?

Would you, or your student, benefit from our in-home or online tutoring offered in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio? Absolutely! Contact us today to receive information regarding tutoring for English, Reading, Math, Science, History, and Test Prep. Curious about what subjects we teach? Click here to visit our website at You can also contact Planting Seeds Tutoring with your questions at (972) 342-6496, or via email at

Do you or your student require tutoring in another subject? Please check out our list of Core Subjects to find out what we offer. Additionally, visit our blog to keep up with new and exciting content, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.