Monday, November 4, 2019

Ask the Narrator: SAT prep tactics

Ask the Narrator

Q: How do I prepare for the math SAT?

A: Hard work. There is no "Royal Road to Success."

Learn math every day.

Practice math every day.

Take your courses seriously every day.

See math problems as a challenge you can beat, not a chore you have to suffer through.

It takes deliberate practice, like the stuff you do to improve at soccer or chess, instead of half-assing your way through something just to finish it; that's the only way to succeed at anything, especially math.

Improve your arithmetic skills: mental math (for quick estimation), fractions, percents. Not having to worry about these will free your mind for more complicated parts of the questions.

Practice reading word problems and converting to algebra - there are plenty of questions like this on the SAT. You can find 8 sample tests on the collegeboard website - download them and take them.

Find out if anyone in your school has taken the SAT and requested (and paid for) the wrong answer report. If you can afford it, request it yourself when you take the test. Reviewing these questions helps a lot.

Finally, understand that the SAT is made up of the stuff you learned in:
  • Pre-Algebra (the statistics questions are at this level), 
  • Algebra 1 (especially word problems in systems of linear equations), 
  • Geometry, and a smidgeon of trig (mostly the right-triangle trig from ch8 in Geometry),
  • Algebra 2 (the raw, pure algebra of weird-looking expressions that factor nicely, etc.).

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