SAT stands for Scholastic Assessment Test and is one of the most widely accepted exams for admissions in colleges in the USA, Canada and other countries. Since its inception in 1926, SAT has seen a lot of revisions and has come far from its very beginnings. The SAT Math test is famous for its notoriety and daunting nature. The exam has an emphasis on using given data and tools strategically, problem solving, algebraic structure and modelling. While the official website describes the SAT Math test being compiled around the everyday Math, the things become entirely different from your perception when you sit in the exam hall.
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SAT prep course usually teaches you basic math, reading and writing concepts that you are expected to know when taking a test. The Math section has MCQs as well as grid-ins where you have to write your answer instead of choosing one from the available options. There are two portions, out of which you can use a calculator in only one. Some sections also have multiple questions based on a single scenario. All the questions belong to the following three categories:
- Data Analysis and Problem Solving
- Advanced Math
The exam also has questions from additional topics such as trigonometry and geometry. Every section is composed such that the student can spend around 1.30 minutes on every question. As the calculation and understanding, the questions require time, solving all the questions in the given time becomes a challenge. Further, it is not the number of questions you solve, but the number of right responses you record that is going to have a final say in your exam performance and score.
In the following post, we are going to share the top SAT Math mistakes that you must avoid during the exam. The mistakes discussed here are very common occurrences in the SAT exam and can lead to fiascos if not dealt properly. So, read on and make sure you give your best shot in the exam.
Learn the formulas the right way
Most of the students think that they can learn the formulas and other such short cuts a few days before the exam. However, they are extremely wrong. As the exam day approaches nearer, they get stressed and tend to confuse the formulas which lead to blunders in the exam. To make sure you don’t fall in this trap, paste white coloured chart papers on the walls of your room. Now, write formulas and shortcuts etc on them daily, as you encounter them in your classes. Make it a habit to revise all the formulas right before going to sleep and the first thing in the morning. This way, by the exam day, you will have them on your tips and there will be no confusion in the exam.
Don’t see a calculator as your only saviour
It is a basic human instinct to rely on any help we can find in pressure situations. The SAT Math exam is one such situation when as soon as the students see a calculator, they try to use it as much as possible in every question. However, what the students don’t realize is the fact that overusing the calculator will waste their time over easy calculations that they could have easily done on their own.
Most of the problems that can be solved in a stepwise manner don’t require a calculator and must be solved using the pen and paper. You must think of the calculator as the last resort, or for the messy calculations that involve big operations on the figures with decimals.
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Right from the beginning of your exam preparation, you must rely on your hands and brains to solve the mathematical queries. This will gradually enhance your problem-solving skills and speed of calculation. Also, if you have joined some reputed coaching institute for math tutoring, you will be taught a number of tips and tricks for solving questions in a jiffy without a calculator.
Enhance your reading abilities
Many times students misinterpret the meaning of a question and approach its solution wrongly. This leads to serious mistakes and poor exam scores. So, we recommend enhancing your reading abilities by reading exam-related materials. Don’t forget to read the creative and analytical editorials or columns as they make you good at understanding Math in general.
Don’t skip too much
The ability to flag a question and revisit it after solving the easier ones has led to a habit where students don’t even invest a reasonable amount of time on thinking over a question. They simply skip and move on to the next one. This habit leads to the piling of test questions which can also cause unnecessary pressure on the minds of students. So, when you are in the preparation phase, identify the safe amount of time that you can spend on hard or difficult to understand questions so that you don’t have to skip them as soon as you read them. Solving timed mock SAT Math tests is the best thing you can do in this regard.
Write down the steps
When you write down the steps while solving a question, it becomes easier to revisit them to find the right answer, if you calculate wrong. You also learn how problems are solved in a systematic and robust way. If you proceed towards problem solving in a calculated and thorough way, you start understanding Maths in a new light and you will be able to develop uncanny problem solving skills.
Have the right preparation methodology
Don’t solve too many reference books. Instead, you must follow these steps:
- Solve the problems from basic curriculum books on the concepts taught in your class daily
- Once you are done, solve questions from some good reference books (2 at max)
- Then, solve the questions from practice papers
- Finally, solve the questions from previous year papers
Always follow this sequence to ensure that your exam preparation always stays exam oriented. This will also help in avoiding time waste on solving unrelated questions.
This completes our discussion, hope you have got a clear idea about the top common SAT math mistakes to avoid. We hope you find it useful and avoid mistakes in your SAT math exam. If you have any queries, feel good to contact Sage Education. We offer the best SAT Classes in Dubai to prepare students for the exam in a success-oriented manner.