There are lots of SAT hacks and strategies out there, but truly learning from your mistakes is one study tip that we can guarantee is going to raise your SAT score!
To get you on the right track, we’re proud to present the “My #1 SAT Tip – SAT 2018” video. This is the number one tip we share with our students studying for the SAT!
Watch the embedded video below, or scroll down for a full video transcript. 🙂
What Will I See in the “My #1 SAT Tip – SAT 2018” Video?
In this free 7-minute video, our SAT expert Chris will give you a brief introduction, followed a complete walkthrough of how to implement our number one SAT tip.
In this video you will learn how to:
1. Analyze why you missed a question!
2. Be very specific about what went wrong!
3. Make an actionable improvement plan!
4. Recognize broader patterns across questions you miss!
5. Stop making the same mistakes over and over again!
Did this video help you? Hit the like button! Better yet–send it to a friend…let’s all go to college 🎓🙌
“My #1 SAT Tip – SAT 2018” Full Transcript
Hi, this is Chris, the SAT expert at Magoosh.
And today I wanna talk about my number one game-changing SAT tip, learning from your mistakes.
This tip is so important that I’ve gone really in depth in our lesson video for the SAT Magoosh premium product.
And I’m gonna share that with you today.
Yes, you YouTubers, you get to watch my most important video, so keep watching.
This is a super-important video.
It is called Learning from Mistakes.
It would be a mistake not to learn from this video, and that’s something about mistakes.
They make us a little bit freaked out and uncomfortable.
Uh-oh, we just made a mistake, I’m ashamed, I’m gonna look away from it.
Don’t do that.
Mistakes are one of the best ways to become better at the test, to improve your score.
And those who actually end up improving their scores are the ones who learn from their mistakes, so keep that in mind.
Now what does that actually mean, learn from your mistakes?
Well, you analyze why you missed a question.
That is essentially what that means.
But at a deeper level, you have to be specific about what went wrong, you really gotta dig in there and analyze.
What do I mean?
Well, let’s take a look here.
Is this digging in?
It was a careless mistake.
Hm, okay, how to improve?
Not be careless, da da da dum.
Is that actually gonna help you?
I think not, that’s really general and really vague.
But honestly, I’ve taught this test for many, many years, and I hear Level 1.
Not only do I hear Level 1 all the time, I hear exactly this phrase, it was a careless mistake, from students all the time.
Every time I have a class.
That is not gonna help you improve, though.
Let’s take a look at Level 2.
I was kind of rushing, and I didn’t read that one part.
Okay, that’s a little bit better, it’s more specific.
There was this part you didn’t read.
So you wanna make sure to read more carefully, read the entire question.
Okay, that might help you out a little bit.
But is there a deeper level?
Ah, I forgot that integers meant counting numbers, and so I started plugging fractions into the question.
Ah, that’s specific, now I know what went wrong, how to improve.
This is gonna be very helpful.
First off, yeah, know that integers mean counting numbers, and be very careful when that word integers is being used.
What else, though?
Underline the exact question at the end of a long word problem in math.
Because the question gets buried in there, so you forget what the question is asking in the first place.
So so important to get to the Level 3 and to actually write this down.
So if you were in my class in person and I could watch you, I would make you do this.
And I would walk by and look to see what you’d written down.
And even when I go through this similar lecture live, I walk around and another student says, it was a careless mistake.
Well, that’s Level 1, and I just showed you not to use that.
So it’s really hard to think at that Level 3, but you have to train yourself.
And if you do, and if you write it down, write it down at this level of specificity you see here, you will start to improve.
Let’s do a second example.
Level 1, I didn’t read the passage enough.
Yeah, we’re gonna figure it out.
SAT perfect score, here I come.
How to improve?
Read the passage more.
Okay, well, what does that mean exactly?
Not that helpful.
So, Level 2, I didn’t go back to the passage to look for the answer but chose an answer based on what I remembered.
That’s pretty good.
If I saw a student writing that down, I wouldn’t be upset.
See, that’s good, but I want you to dig a little deeper.
Because going back to the passage, that’s definitely a high-level strategy that we all wanna use, but you’ve gotta make it specific about your case.
What went wrong just now?
Whoa, Level 3 student, you have done a perfect job here.
Look at all that you have written.
Let us read it now.
I didn’t read the question to know what it was really asking.
Had I slowed down a little while reading the question, not just hurrying to the answer choices, I’d have noticed the keyword and then remembered that it was discussed in the third paragraph.
I would’ve gone back to the paragraph and found the answer, and then been far less likely to pick the trap answer.
Let’s just say it’s D, which sounded right but wasn’t something that was actually mentioned in the passage.
Whoa, this is so specific.
This person really understood what was going on.
They knew what was going on inside their heads when they reached their pencil out and circled D and made that the answer.
They turned back time and said, okay, what was going through my brain at that moment?
And that’s what we get here with this wonderful Level 3 explanation, cuz how to improve is suddenly a lot easier and more specific, of course.
Read question carefully, look for those keywords.
2, make sure when you’re reading the passage that you are not reading so quickly that you don’t know where important information is contained.
That’s really helpful, and it’s so much better than, read the passage more.
[LAUGH] What do you mean by that?
But now, obviously, it means, well, you’re skimming it too fast that you’re missing some keywords that pop up in the questions, so slow down there.
And third, look for evidence in passage versus what sounds right.
So you’re going back, and you’re not just reading and then just kinda going back on what sounds right.
But you’re underlining, you’re putting little quotes, whatever mark you use around that specific sentence that has that evidence, and then you’re not gonna pick that trap answer, D.
And again, that’s just an example, D is not always the trap answer.
Okay, so we are wrapping up now, but let’s look at some strategies to help us really apply this.
First off, you wanna look for broader patterns across questions you miss.
That means that you’re gonna notice that, hey, I’m doing certain things over and over again, and that’s of course hurting me.
And that makes it easier, of course, to avoid doing these things.
Now, to actually spot these broader patterns, you want to carefully dissect your mistakes after taking practice tests.
So basically take practice tests.
Because that will allow you, unless you’re getting a near-perfect score, to see many of your errors.
And then you can go back.
Or sometimes I even tell students, do a section at a time.
Do that section, and then go back and see what you missed.
Cuz it’s a little fresher in your mind what you were thinking.
And that’s gonna help you a lot to get to that Level 3.
And what’s really gonna help you in general and to be at that Level 3 is you’re gonna have to be obsessive about your mistakes.
Again, don’t shy away from that.
Don’t think, oh, that was bad, I failed, I’m bad.
No, it’s whoa, a learning opportunity to see what went wrong.
And so, I’m not gonna do that what?
Next time you’re gonna be on guard against it and not make that same mistake again.
Looking For More SAT Tips?
Once you’ve mastered the art of learning from your mistakes, check out some of our other useful SAT test taking strategies and resources:
- Ultimate SAT Guessing Tricks | Video Post”
- Top 10 Ways to Prepare for the SAT
- SAT Math: How to Score a Perfect 800 [Plus a Downloadable Guide]
Happy studying! 🙂
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About Molly Kiefer
Molly completed her undergraduate degree in Philosophy at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. She has been tutoring the SAT, GRE, and LSAT since 2014, and loves supporting her students as they work towards their academic goals. When she’s not tutoring or blogging, Molly takes long walks, makes art, and studies ethics. Molly currently lives in Northern California with her cat, who is more popular on Instagram than she is.
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