There are several opportunities throughout the year to take the SAT test, which means that many students take the test multiple times in order to get the highest score possible. Colleges and universities across the country evaluate students based on their SAT scores, and they have a threshold for admittance. Naturally, this puts students under pressure to perform — so it’s important to prepare accordingly and to employ the top strategies for earning a high SAT score.

These are a few of the top strategies that have helped students earn a high score on their SAT:

Study the Test Directions as well as Possible Questions

Most students who enroll in an SAT prep course or who purchase a book to prepare for the SAT will find that the content focuses largely on the types of questions that will be presented to them during the exam. While it is important to have a general understanding of the types of questions they may encounter, it’s far more beneficial for students to fully understand the directions. Students who want to achieve a high score should read and evaluate the directions prior to the exam so that they can apply those directions to the questions they are given.

Seek Out Simple, Clear Answers in Multiple-Choice Sections

The multiple-choice sections can be intimidating and even confusing, because many students feel there are several right answers available. In reality, there is only one right answer presented to every question. In most cases, the answer that is presented in a simple, straightforward manner is the correct answer. Multiple-choice selections that are overly complicated or excessively wordy are not typically the correct answer to the question.

Don’t Be Afraid to Work Out Your Answers

The only portion of the test that will be submitted is the answer form. The test booklet can be used by students as they determine which answer they feel is best for the question. Students can feel free to write on the test booklet, and to work out any problems that may be difficult to solve mentally.

Focus on Main Ideas in Reading Comprehension Sections

Given the fact that the SAT is a timed test, the reading comprehension sections can be particularly challenging. One of the best strategies for students to utilize as they are taking this section of the exam is to read quickly and focus on the main ideas. The details can be considered later if they come up in a specific question. Using this strategy, students can devote more time to answering the test questions rather than over-analyzing the text provided.

Perhaps one of the best strategies to employ before taking the SAT is simply to relax. This sounds counterproductive, and possibly downright impossible, but it’s incredibly effective. The night before the SAT, students should make an effort to relax, do something that they enjoy, eat a healthy, well-balanced meal and get a full night of sleep. By starting the test in the best physical and mental form, students are more likely to earn their best possible score.