What are great ways to manage time effectively while taking standardized tests?
In developing a test-taking strategy, It helps to have taken at least a few complete practice tests for several reasons. One, it lets you see where your areas of strength and weakness are, so that further preparation can be somewhat more focused on the weaker areas. Secondly, you will be able to see how long it takes to effectively get through each section. Thirdly, as you go through the practice tests, you will become familiar with the directions for the various sections of the test so that you can read through them more quickly when taking the REAL test and not have to waste time figuring out what to do. Finally, familiarity with the structure of the test should permit you to go into the actual testing situation in a more relaxed state of mind.
It is not essential to take a standardized test prep class, although in many cases, it would surely be helpful. If this is not feasible for you, you can buy SAT and ACT test preparation books and organize a self-study with those materials. Most of the prep books will include a number of practice tests based on actual past tests. When you take those practice tests, arrange to have someone time you. Times will be indicated for each section, and those times should be carefully observed. You will be able to determine which test sections you are able to get through in the allotted time and which ones slow you down. The test prep books also include tips for effective test-taking strategies which will surely be of use to you.
When taking the tests (both practice and actual), attempt to go through the questions at a consistent rate. Don't let yourself get bogged down and spend too much time on any one question. Just skip any questions that slow you down noticeably and continue on. If you do skip a question, however, be sure to skip the space on the answer sheet, as well, and mark the question to indicate that you want to go back to it if there is time remaining when you get to the end of the section. If you skip a question and forget to skip the corresponding place on the answer sheet, you will potentially get every question after that wrong because the answers will be in the wrong place. You definitely don't want that to happen!
For each question on the multiple choice sections there will be a short list of possible answers. On the SAT, one point is awarded for each correct answer and no points are given for a question that is not answered at all. Fractions of points will be taken off, however, for wrong answers in certain sections of the test. That means that you would be better off not answering a question than giving a wrong answer. It is not wise to guess completely - eeny, meeny, miney, mo - if you cannot eliminate any of the answers as being incorrect. If you CAN eliminate any of the suggested answers as incorrect, though, you will have an improved chance of making an accurate "educated guess". Obviously, the more incorrect responses you can eliminate, the better your chances will be of choosing the correct answer from the remaining possibilities.