Written by Chris Hernandez
The new SAT Math can be a lot to tackle at once with all topics covered. The sad part is that high school, For a more in depth idea of the topics covered you can check out our blog post Math Topics in the...
From all of the topics mentioned above you probably have heard of many, know some well, and don't know a lot about others. This is completely normal and why we are here. We advise you to break down which topics you're struggling with (as specifically as possible) and practice, practice, practice! This is the only way to improve. Many students just take dozens of practice tests and don't know why they aren't improving. From experience, our data and test prep experts have noticed that the more specific you understand your weaknesses the easier it is to leverage that and get a great SAT score. For example, one student came to us last fall wanting to improve 80 points on the Math section. She was frustrated because she had spent so much time taking practice exams but her scores stayed the same. We quickly realized that she was taking too long on the complex Algebra questions and wasn't breaking down word problems to their core. After tweaking this, she was able to improve 120 points. Its that simple!
It may sound smart to bounce around from idea to idea when studying for the Math Portion of the SAT but this will work against your progress. Mixing many concepts can not only be very frustrating, but also confusing. This is not what you want! Its smarter to focus on one topic at a time, let's say mastering Graph Math Problems and then transitioning to the next topic at hand. Math can be hard, stressful, and very daunting so it may benefit the mind to take a day or two off. This doesn't mean to quit after 30 minutes, but to let your mind rest ONLY when it needs it.
Many students fly through math questions and make silly mistakes. They either read the question wrong, assume that they don't know how to break it down and solve it, or make a simple math mistake. If this sounds like you we have a solution. Work on your time management! If you are able to build confidence about your ability to finish on time many of these mistakes can be minimized.
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You may follow everything mentioned above yet still not reach your SAT goals. The next question is why? Many times, the answer is because your endurance needs to be built. It's very easy to get distracted during a long exam and the easiest way to combat this is by working out the perseverance component in your brain.
Standardized test prep is like a long distance race, its important to to keep a pace that won't burn you out. However if you do find yourself stressed during exam day- or even during a practice SAT exam- you can simply take a 10-15 second break and practice breathing techniques.