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

The Website EVERY Student Needs to Know About

This is going to change your life.

A couple of days ago, I was just minding my own business, looking for an explanation for a question I had been assigned in my SAT prep class. Then I stumbled upon this website called Soft Schools.

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Initially, I was like “WTF did I just click on?!?”. I lowkey thought it was going to give me a virus. Luckily, it didn’t. But. Y’all. It’s amazing. It has articles explaining pretty much everything you would cover in grades 1-12.

I was really excited by its offerings for AP Chemistry. I just took AP Chem this year and I never had enough resources to practice or apply the new concepts I was learning. For anyone who has taken chem, you know that practice problems are the key to success. Soft Schools has practice questions for AP Chem with answers! on it’s website!

This website is amazing! I’m so in love. I just wish I had know it when I was actually taking AP Chem. I am so excited by this because you can access practice questions which is something even the AP Chemistry course on Khan Academy doesn’t have! I mean, this is pretty huge. Also, you could definitely use a review book like Barron’s to get practice questions, but still – this is free!

They have notes, articles, and quizzes for a bunch APs such as AP Geography, AP US History, AP Environmental Science which I’m planning on looking through to get ahead for school in the fall, and so many others.

Unfortunately, they don’t have all the APs, but something is better than nothing! Here’s a link to all the high school materials on the site.

They say (read: lie) that they have materials for calculus, but it’s basically all pre-calc stuff like logs and trig functions. So if you’re looking for calc help, I wouldn’t use this site. However, my friend who TA’d Calc I and took Calc BC last year said Khan Academy’s Calc curriculum and videos were really good and helpful. I’m planning to use Khan Academy for when I take calc in the fall.

Another really cool feature on their website are the history timelines. I always find timelines to be super helpful to get a broad idea about what was happening in a certain time period. On this website, they have ones pre-made for you. Generally, it’s better to make your own timeline. But if you just need a quick reference guide, this is a really good option. Honestly, the timelines in this website are organized in no particular manner or at least, I can’t tell what manner it’s organized in. For example, after the Rosa Parks timeline is on on the Civil War, so I don’t even know what’s happening there.

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Everyone and their mom needs to know about this website. It’s super helpful (though not super easy to use). Trust me, command+F will be your best friend when navigating this disorganized website. You’ll definitely have to plan around with the site a bit to get where you’re trying to go, but I think you’ll probably find exactly what you’re looking for when you (eventually) get there!

Sincerely,

Marie