Why You Should Mark Up Your ACT/SAT Test Booklet and How To Do It

Flickr user Steven Lilley

Did you know you can write all over your ACT or SAT test booklet during the exam itself? No one will see your notes and it’s a great way to keep on track during the exam. Here’s exactly why and how you should take advantage of this:

Cross Out Wrong Answers

The process of elimination is a strong tool during the ACT or SAT, especially on questions you’re not quite sure about (or have no clue). When you’re going back over questions you skipped at the end of a section, cross out those answers that you absolutely know are incorrect. This will help you concentrate more on the answers that make sense, without distraction. Even if you aren’t sure what the answer could possibly be, you can now make an educated guess. When you know two answers are incorrect and have two remaining, you have a 50/50 chance of getting it right.

Remember that skipping a question because it is too difficult is a strategy you should be using! You should have time after you complete the section to return to it and that’s when process of elimination comes in handy. You won’t be penalized for getting a question wrong, so it’s important to use this tactic.

Mark up The Margins of the Reading Section

The reading section contains a lot of information in a small space. You should already be skipping the reading and checking out the questions first. This will help you figure out exactly what you’re looking for when you go back to read the passage.

Marking up the questions and passage can help you find the most important aspects of the section. For example, if one of the questions asks about line 23, you should go into the reading and underline that specific line. If a question mentions a particular subject, underline that subject so you remember to look specifically for that when you read the passage. Using these notes to your advantage will let you know exactly what you’re looking for in the reading, but also keep you on track so you don’t have to keep searching over and over for something you missed. You’ll know what is important in the passage before you even begin to read.

Keep Track of Math

The math section covers a lot of different types of math and it can get a bit overwhelming. Trying to keep track of equations, graphs, and word problems can easily become confusing. Use the margins to write down your thought process, underline important aspects of the problem, or write all over geometry diagrams to make sure you have the right dimensions.

Don’t be worried about what you write in the test booklet of either the SAT or ACT. You’re absolutely free to use it as scrap paper during the exam and no one will see it. However, don’t write notes on it to other students or it could get you into serious trouble. As long as you’re keeping to the exam, it can be a valuable work-space to help you keep on track.

Your ACT / SAT score affects your acceptance odds. Check out College Raptor’s free match tool to see your odds at every college in the US.

Hilary Cairns

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