What You Need to Know to Crush the SAT: Math Edition

f What You Need To Know To Crush The SAT_ math edition

Here is the second installment in my series on test taking and prep strategies for the SAT. My parents paid an arm and a leg for SAT prep, so your parents won’t have to! 😉

General Test Taking Tips

Test questions are ordered from easiest to hardest.

The test is ordered from least missed questions to most often missed questions. For the grid-in problems the difficulty resets. So as you go on from the first grid-in problem to the last grid-in problem, the questions will get progressively more challenging.

You can either focus on doing as many easy problems as possible with reasonable assurance that you got them correct.

OR, you could focus on the hardest problems first then do the easy problems because the easy problems should take less time therefore you can put them off until later when you have less time, assuming that because they are easier, they should take you less time to solve.

When in doubt, skip it! Come back to it later.

Skip problems that take you more than 2 minutes to solve.

If you see a problem you know how to solve (but will take you a long time) or have a vague idea how to solve, skip it.

If you see a problem and you don’t immediately know how to solve it, skip it.

How to Save Time

The test answers choices are generally listed from least to greatest or vice versa. If you need to fill in a value, start with one of the middle values. Then you can go up or down if that answer choice doesn’t work.

Don’t show all of your work if you don’t need to. You won’t get partial credit for showing your work. If you can do it in your head quickly and accurately then do it and bubble in the answer immediately.

Know when it’s going to be faster to plug in the various options versus solving for the correct variable.

Getting Better and Avoiding Making the Same Mistakes

Identity areas where you are the weakest and categorize your weakness into the following categories

  1. Silly mistake (ex. simple addition error or mixing up values)
  2. Knowledge based: you didn’t know how to solve that problem
  3. Ran out of time

Avoiding Making Silly Mistakes

  1. If you’re making a lot of silly mistakes, SLOW DOWN.
    • This may seem counterintuitive, but you have to give you brain the time it needs to function properly. I’d recommend taking practice tests so you can get used to the stress of working under time constraints.
    • Also, double check your work if you have time.
      • Generally, I double check my answers before I go back to answer the really hard questions.
  2. If you missed the question because you didn’t understand it and/or know how to solve it, use Khan Academy to learn how to solve questions like that.

The Most Important Tip I Can Give You

All the questions on the test are weighted the exact same. One will not count for more or less than any other, so focus on the ones where you’re absolutely sure you can obtain the correct answer.

Equations to Master

You should be familiar with all the you learn in algebra 1 and 2. Some ones that you should definitely know are

  • Parallel, perpendicular, and intersecting lines
  • Point slope form
  • Equation of a circle
  • Quadratic formula

Skills To Master

  • Splitting the middle
  • Combing like terms
  • Factoring quadratics
  • Similar triangles
  • Expanding polynomials

Good luck with the SAT! Always remember that the College Board is THE devil.

Sincerely,

Marie

What You Need to Know to CRUSH the SAT

What You Need To Know To Crush The SAT.png

Hello! This is the first in a series of posts about making the SAT your b*tch! This point is about

  1. general test prep tips
  2. tips for test day
  3. helpful online resources
  4. best test prep book

ONE // General Test Prep Tips

  • Take practice tests routinely and often. The more exposure you get to the test, the better. If you can’t dedicate 4 consecutive hours of your day to taking a practice exam, try taking just the math sections one day and the English sections another day.
  • Make a master list of all the questions you’ve gotten wrong so that you can review them later and identify weak spots.

TWO // Tips for Test Day

  • When testing, make sure you bring at least a 32 oz water bottle and high quality snacks.
  • Pack your bag the night before. Make sure you include: your test ID, student (school) ID, at least 5 sharpened pencils, pencil sharpener, and eraser.
  • Make sure your calculator is on the College Board (yuck!) list of approved calculators.
  • Make sure you have your printed admissions ticket and valid school ID (it must be from the current school year or the year before if you’re taking the test before December of the new school year).
  • Pick out your clothes the night before. I like to wear comfortable but still nice clothes. what i swore to the SAT.png

sweatshirt | sneakers | pearls | shirt | glasses | socks | jeans

This is literally what I wore to take the SAT. Nothing special. I wore that were clothes that I had owned for YEARS. I have to say, I love the jeans I wore – they are real jeans, but they have a super comfy elastic waistband. I LOVE THEM. You’ll thank me later. Also, this shirt I got from GAP is the comfiest shirt I own. It’s the perfect combination of thick but not heavy and still maintaining a nice stretch. This shirt is literally perfect – you should buy it in every color!

THREE // Helpful Websites for SAT Prep

Erik the Read

I highly recommend this website. Super informative and helpful! I really can’t say enough good things about him. He teaches a lot of strategies that you’d typically only learn from expensive test prep companies. Also, there are plenty of worksheets on his website that you can access for free!

Khan Academy

Everyone knows and loves Khan Academy. For SAT Prep, Khan Academy is great for two kinds of people. One, people who need a lot of help to learn the actual content on that is assessed on the SAT. Two, people who already learned the content in school and just need to be able to do it faster and with greater accuracy. If you fall out of these two categories, Khan Academy isn’t going to cover the bulk of your needs. Also, Khan Academy doesn’t teach test strategies.

Prep Scholars

This is a really cool website that is all about how to succeed on standardized tests in high school, college, and grad school. Honestly, I didn’t use their website too much to study for the SAT, but I found it really helpful for the AP Chem exam. They do put together really useful study timelines and study guides that I think are pretty helpful.

FOUR // The Best Test Prep Books

Princeton Review Premium Prep

If I could recommend only one book to buy, it would be this one. I’d recommend buying this book because I didn’t need new test taking strategies since I had a private tutor and attended an SAT prep course. However, I still think the test taking strategies are super helpful and worth it! Also, it comes with 8 full-length practice tests. This book also reviews the format and mechanics of the test. You can access the official SAT practice tests on Khan Academy anyway.

Official College Board SAT Practice Test Book

This is just a really big book with 8 full-length SAT exams in it. You can access these EXACT same exams on Khan Academy too, so keep that in mind too. This book does walk you through each section of the test and its format. It also gives practice questions for each section of the test.

Princeton Review Extra Practice Tests 

This book has 10 full length practice tests. I really appreciate that each problem comes with a detailed explanation. I don’t think this one includes the test taking strategies like the other Princeton Review book mentioned above.

Good luck!

Sincerely,

Marie

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