Standardized tests aren’t fun for anyone, especially students with ADHD. From re-reading math problems to crossing out wrong answers, these seven strategies can boost your SAT score and give you a leg up on college admissions.
The SAT college admissions test is not exactly ADHD-friendly.
Most teens with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) would agree that sitting in a seat for four hours answering questions bearing little relevance to a teen’s life isn’t a recipe for earning a blowout score. You’ll lose interest. Your mind will wander. Worse, your ADHD mind will space out and lose focus on everything.
What to do? Use these seven tips for helping teens with ADHD maximize their efforts on the SAT test and earn the high scores that colleges want.
Talk It Out
Instead of quickly deciding whether an answer is right or wrong, tell yourself, in words, why one answer is better than another.
By talking through your reasoning, you can check your thought process and find mistakes. In fact, verbalize all questions and answers to yourself. It will ensure that your brain hasn’t skipped over important information.
It’s better to work slowly and carefully.
Questions in each SAT section get increasingly difficult as you go along, but the hard ones at the end are worth the same number of points as the easy and intermediate ones. If you rush through the test, you are likely to make errors that will cost you points on the easier questions.
Write On the Test Booklet
Not only is it OK to write on the test, you should do it. Take notes, do calculations, create an outline. When you write things down, you are more likely to get a problem correct.
Ask yourself comprehension questions in order to narrow the choices and to move toward the right answer.
Some good comprehension questions include: “What information is the question asking me for?” or “What type of word is missing from the sentence — a thing, action, or description?” or “What opinion am I being asked to agree or disagree with?”
Re-Read Those Math Questions
This is probably the easiest thing you can do to improve your score.
Math problems in school are easy to understand, but hard to solve. SAT math questions are harder to understand, but easier to solve. The challenge is to determine what information they are asking for.
Unless you re-read the question, you may have forgotten it by the time you’re ready to answer it.
Mark Wrong Answer Choices
If you determine that an answer choice is wrong, don’t just skip it, cross it off. That way, you will remember that it’s wrong if you come back to the problem. When you do cross it off, draw a line only through the letter, not the entire answer choice. You won’t have as much erasing to do if you decide that it may be correct when you review it again.
Take a Break
If you notice you’re getting tired and lazy — you start to skip problems or cut corners — rest your brain.
Halfway through each section, put your pencil down, look away from the test, and think about anything else for two to three minutes. Remember to take these breaks in the middle of a section after you’ve answered questions. Taking a break before doing so will make it tougher to regain your focus.
Omega Learning® Center is AdvancED accredited nationwide and provides tutoring and test preparation services for grades K-12. To find a learning center near you, visit OmegaLearning.com.