OMG! The next SAT is 2 weeks away and I’m not ready! I thought I’d have more time to study! I didn’t think learning the SAT would be this hard! I didn’t think I’d be this freaked out!
That’s what I’ve been hearing a lot of this week around the interwebs.
The SAT test is coming whether you are ready or not. So for those of you who are not ready- it’s time to drop back and punt.
1. Know your strengths and weaknesses
I’m great at functions and terrible at parabolas. Knowing this lets me pick and choose which questions I’m going to answer and which ones I’m going to “skip” and come back to later if I have time. [Note: when I say “skip” a question, I really mean that you should just bubble in A and not spend any time on that question. Since you don’t lose points for wrong answers, you never want to leave a question blank. ]
How can you figure this out?
Review your test results in minute detail. Which ones did you miss? What was the question really testing? Which topics and question types do you keep missing over and over?
Don’t judge yourself or beat yourself up for not knowing everything. The clearer picture you can have of your strengths and weaknesses, the better you’ll be able to navigate the test to exploit your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.
This test is just as much about knowing yourself and how you perform under pressure as it is about reading, writing, and math content.
2. Play to your strengths
If you’re not shooting for an 800, then you shouldn’t be focusing on answering every question correctly.
What are you especially good at? I happen to adore function problems so I make sure to answer all of the function questions.
3. Avoid your pitfalls
What are you terrible at? Avoid those questions like the plague. Spend your time on questions that you have a higher likelihood of getting correct.
One of my students hates the studies questions. It doesn’t matter if they’re testing medians, percentages, or ranges. She practically breaks out in hives every time she has to wrestle with one.
So I suggested that she just avoid them entirely. Her jaw hit the ground. “You mean you can do that???” Um – yeah. Why waste time, brain power, and your self-confidence wrestling with problems you usually don’t get correct anyway? For her, there are plenty of other problems that she can tackle that she has a better chance of getting correct.
For me, I’m awful at parabola questions. So I answer practically everything else and save those questions for last.
4. Shore up your weaknesses
Now you probably can’t re-learn all of high school geometry class in one evening. Or mysteriously unlock the key to all the arcane grammar rules. But you can learn one or two formulas and work on one or two things.
Here are some of the things some of my last-minute students are working on:
- Memorize SOHCAHTOA
- Memorize the equation of a circle
- Memorize the quadratic formula
- Understand and look for pronoun antecedents
- Learn the difference between plural and possessive.
Each of those are small, manageable piece that you’ll be able to use on the March SAT to increase your score.
Good luck to everyone in your last few weeks of studying!
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