Want to know how to really improve SAT math? Here are some simple rules to follow…
DO NOT DO THIS ON THE SAT
You ready for a timed test? Okay, ready, set…Go!
Now you are off and whipping through questions as quickly as possible. After all, you want to finish the test, right? Well, if test is the SAT, the answer is NO! You do not need to finish every question on the SAT.
What You Should Do
Instead you want to slow down and be accurate. Your goal is to try to get as many points as possible. And you don’t get any extra points for finishing. In fact, you may very well lose points for blindly guessing on the SAT.
I Bet You Didn’t Know…
You know that really difficult math problem with the crazy pyramid and a bunch of variables floating inside the triangle? Well, that question is worth the same number of points as this question: x – 2 = 7, x = ?
Indeed, no question on the SAT is worth more than any other question. That’s so important I am going to restate it again in different words, and with big, annoying CAPS.
EVERY QUESTION ON THE SAT IS WORTH THE SAME AMOUNT
A Really Important Strategy – Skip the question!
How does this knowledge affect your strategy? Well – and not to beat a dead horse – but slow down! And focus on the questions that you are likely to answer correctly. The good news is that in most sections you can get a general sense of the difficulty level of a question.
Take Sentence Completions (SC). The first SC is usually the easiest. The second and third tend to be a little harder. By the time you get to last question you have no idea what the sentence is even saying, and words like byzantine and ossification are answer choices. Yep, that’s the hard one. And what’s the strategy with the hard ones? Skip them! You will spend a couple of minutes on a question you may likely get wrong (it is, after all, a devious question concocted by the evil geniuses over at College Board).
The Exception: Reading Comprehension
The only section in which the easy questions are randomly scrambled up with the difficult questions is Reading Comprehension. Even then, when you are not sure what a question is even asking, it is probably a difficult one. And what have we learned today? Skip the hard questions (unless you have time at the end) and use that time to focus no the easy and medium-level questions.
Summary of how to improve SAT math
- Do not race to finish the test. Doing so can only hurt you.
- Every question on the SAT is worth the same. So do not waste your time with the difficult ones.
- Slow down and focus on getting the easy and medium-level questions right.
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About Chris Lele
Chris Lele is the GRE and SAT Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh Online Test Prep. In his time at Magoosh, he has inspired countless students across the globe, turning what is otherwise a daunting experience into an opportunity for learning, growth, and fun. Some of his students have even gone on to get near perfect scores. Chris is also very popular on the internet. His GRE channel on YouTube has over 10 million views. You can read Chris's awesome blog posts on the Magoosh GRE blog and High School blog! You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook!
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