How to Overcome Common SAT Challenges: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Overcome Common SAT Challenges: A Comprehensive Guide

Written by Chris Hernandez

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Welcome back, SAT warriors! If you're reading this, you're likely gearing up for the SAT, and we're here to guide you through overcoming common SAT challenges. In this comprehensive guide, we'll break down the key stumbling blocks and provide effective strategies to conquer them.

Challenge 1: Time Management

Ticking Clocks and Nervous Glances

Time management is a universal struggle for SAT takers. Here are three tips for mastering it:

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice:
  • Simulate real exam conditions regularly to build your speed and accuracy. That means setting up a space without distractions on a saturday morning and allotting yourself the correct time for each section.
  • Use practice tests to identify your time-consuming question types and work on improving your pace. Amikka has a full range of practice tests available for you to check out.
  1. Section Pacing:
  • Set time goals for each question based on the number of questions and time allotted for the section to ensure you cover all questions.
  • Don't get stuck on a single question. If it's challenging, mark it and come back if time permits.
  • If you’re completely lost, use one answer choice (such as C) and use it on every guess.
  1. Strategic Skipping:
  • If a question is taking too long, consider skipping it and coming back later if time allows.
  • Prioritize easy and medium-difficulty questions first to maximize your score potential.
  • Be sure to apply the Two Passes Strategy, as it will also allow you to maximize your time.


Challenge 2: Reading Comprehension

Unraveling the Complex Passages

The SAT's reading section can be a maze of complex passages and tricky questions. Here's how to navigate with ease:

  1. Active Reading:
  • Engage with the text actively by underlining key points and jotting down notes.
  • Summarize each paragraph in your own words to enhance understanding. 
  1. Main Idea Focus:
  • Identify the main idea of each passage before diving into the questions.
  • Connect each paragraph to the central theme to maintain a clear understanding. 
  1. Predict Answers:
  • Anticipate answers to questions before looking at the options, enhancing your focus on relevant details.
  • Eliminate obviously incorrect answer choices to improve your chances of selecting the correct one.

Check out Amikka’s tips for how to improve your SAT reading comprehension.


Challenge 3: SAT Math Anxiety

Conquering the Numbers Game 

Mathematics anxiety is real, but so are effective strategies to conquer it. Let's break it down:

  1. Conceptual and Concrete Understanding:
  • Focus on understanding the underlying concepts in addition to memorizing key formulas.
  • Break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable parts.
  1. Problem Solving Techniques:
  • Develop a toolbox of problem-solving techniques to tackle different question types.
  • Practice mental math to improve your calculation speed.
  • Check out Amikka’s math tips for improving your score.
  1. Regular Review:
  • Review math concepts regularly to reinforce your understanding.
  • Make sure to practice SAT math word problems to familiarize yourself with their style.
  • Identify and work on your weak areas to build confidence.


Challenge 4: Vocabulary Woes

Navigating the Sea of Words

The SAT's vocabulary can be intimidating, but fear not! You can enhance your word power with these strategies: 

  1. Flashcards and Mnemonics:
  • Create flashcards with challenging words and use mnemonic devices for better retention.
  • Group words based on themes or roots to make learning more efficient.
  1. Contextual Understanding:
  • Learn words in context by reading diverse materials.
  • Use new vocabulary in your writing to solidify your understanding.
  1. Regular Quizzing:
  • Test yourself regularly using vocabulary quizzes and online resources.
  • Challenge yourself with a word-of-the-day routine to expand your word bank.

Check out Amikka’s grammar tips to help improve your score!


Challenge 5: Test Anxiety

Taming the Nerves

Test day jitters are normal, but they shouldn't hinder your performance. Let's tackle test anxiety head-on: 

  1. Breathing Techniques:
  • Practice deep breathing exercises to stay calm under pressure.
  • Incorporate mindfulness techniques to center yourself during the test. 
  1. Positive Visualization:
  • Visualize success and positive outcomes to boost confidence.
  • Focus on your preparation and the effort you've put in to build a positive mindset.
  1. Pre-Test Routine:
  • Establish a pre-test routine to create a sense of familiarity and reduce anxiety.
  • Arrive early to the test center to minimize last-minute stressors.

Check out Amikka’s Mindset tips for standardized tests in addition.



Facing SAT challenges is a rite of passage, but with the right strategies, you can emerge victorious. Remember, preparation is the key to success. Arm yourself with knowledge, practice diligently, and you'll be ready to conquer the SAT with confidence.

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks on your SAT journey. You've got this!

Written by Founder
Chris Hernandez

Christopher Hernandez, the founder of Amikka Learning, couldn’t afford expensive SAT tutoring so he spent hundreds of hours studying on his own.

After improving over 400 points and attending an Ivy League school he realized how unfair the playing field was with tutoring: no matter how smart you were, if you couldn’t afford tutoring you were stuck.
His dream was to change this.

He began tutoring for the SAT and quickly realized that he was a gifted tutor. His students were loving his program and improving very fast.

Fast forward 8 years, Amikka is a leader in the education industry and has helped thousands of students get into their dream schools.

If you’d like a free consultation for 1-on-1 tutoring schedule a call with our team here.

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Help Your Child Get Into Their Dream School. Without The Cost.

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