What to do with Extra Time on the ACT/SAT

Students should use their extra time to go over any skipped questions.

Pixabay user geralt

During your SAT or ACT, you may complete a section, look down at your watch, and realize you have a few minutes or more before time is up. Here are a few things you should be doing with that precious time.

Go Over Questions You Skipped

If a question proved too difficult during your initial read-through of the SAT or ACT, you may have skipped it. This is usually recommended as you want to be sure you have enough time for the rest of the section and for questions you can answer.

Now is the time to go back to those difficult questions and give them more time. You may even find particular questions are simple now that you’re looking at it again with a fresh perspective.

Read Over Your Work

Once you’ve tried to answer those more difficult questions, it is time to read over your work. This could include reading a passage over, double-checking your equations on your calculator, or just ensuring that you have selected the correct answer. Depending on what section you’re currently on will influence how you approach double-checking your answers and work.

Take a Breather

If you only have a minute or so left until the time limit ends or you’ve already gone over questions you skipped and your provided answers, it is okay to take a breather. Even though you will have breaks, it never hurts to relax for a moment or two.

However, if you do have the time to go over your work, do that before you take the break. Even just a minute could provide you with enough time to answer a question you previously skipped. You may also want to consider preparing yourself mentally for the next section.

Things Not to Do

The above three items are things you should do with your extra time on the ACT or SAT. But, there are also a few things you should avoid doing. For example, never turn to other sections. This includes sections that you have already completed or sections that are coming up next. You are not allowed to do this and you could be facing serious consequences if you do. Even if you had questions in the previous section you did not have time to answer, resist turning to those pages.

You are also not permitted a phone during the exam, so if you managed to sneak one in, refrain from pulling it out. Just like turning to another section, this could have serious consequences. You really shouldn’t be taking anything out of your pockets, purse, or bag during the tests. Your pencils, calculator, erasers, and watch should all be on your desk and in sight of the instructor.

Although you may find yourself with extra time at the end of a section of either the ACT or SAT, it’s important to use that time wisely. The best things you can do are going over questions you skipped and rereading your work and answers. There’s no harm to be done by checking to make sure you answered each correctly!

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