Are you wondering what it takes to get a perfect SAT math score? If so, read on to hear how tutor Brooke Hanson has helped so many students get that 800!
Tip #1: Learn more than one way to do each problem
You never know when the problem you think you know how to solve isn’t solvable that way. Not to mention the worst way to find that out is during your SAT! Something else to consider is, there may be another way to solve that type of problem that ends up faster. The more ways that you know how to solve a problem, the more adept of a problem solver you’ll be. There’s nothing to lose from adding more tools to your belt.
So how do you achieve this? Your first step should be to learn classic tutor hacks: backsolving, using the answer choices, using your calculator to graph problems, and simplifying the problem. Additionally, you can try shortcut hacks that include using elimination and solving for xy. If you’re interested in learning more math hacks, check out our videos, “SAT Math Shortcuts!” and “SAT Calculator Hacks.” Even if you already have some hacks under your belt, pick up some more! There’s nothing to lose from learning more ways to solve a problem. You never know when a question will be slightly different to the point that your trusty, go-to hack no longer works. The more ways you know how to solve a problem, the better advantage you’ll have.
Tip #2: Know Everything Tested on the SAT
Okay, so you may be thinking, “This is obvious.” But it bears repeating how important it is to know every type of question the SAT can ask you. The best way to prepare is by taking practice tests. Lots of practice tests! Brooke’s advice is to find the most recent SAT practice tests you can and take at least 3 or 4 of them. Score your tests to see what you got wrong, and then take the time to define every type of question you struggled with or missed. Next, it’s time to study all those concepts you found in depth. It’s not enough to know why you missed one problem. You need to soak up all of the knowledge surrounding that question type to ensure you won’t trip up in the future.
One way to study this is by using our online course, “The Best SAT Prep Course Ever.” You can enter your practice test results, and our engine will define every type of question you missed. You can then watch our explanatory videos and complete our downloadable drills. This method will help your familiarity with the subject will increase. Other resources you can use are books made by independent tutors. If you have no budget, Khan Academy works as well.
Tip #3: Be an Overachiever
Something Brooke has seen among students who get perfect SAT math scores is they go above and beyond. They’re usually on a math competition team, or they are challenging themselves in some way in math. You can advance your math skills by taking an AMC test or finding an after-school Mathletics competition. Other students take advantage of their free time during the summer and participate in summer math programs. The more competition math you do, the more the SAT is going to look like a joke.
Tip #4: Eliminate Carelessness
Students looking to achieve that perfect SAT math score need to know how to eliminate carelessness. You may think making a careless mistake is inevitable, but there are ways to combat it, especially in the math section. The first thing you can do is to up your speed. If it takes you less time to complete the test, and you have more room at the end to go back and look at problems. If you can move quickly and accurately, that’s a great way to catch errors.
You need to be aware of where you tend to make mistakes. If you know that you’re making careless errors, then catalog where that’s happening and try to find patterns. Is there a specific kind of question that trips you up? Examine what it is that’s causing you to miss that. Is it something about multiple choice questions? Are you doing too much mental math? These are the kinds of awareness questions you should ask yourself.
Finally, you need to know how the test plans to trick you so you can guard against those tricks. Unlike school math classes, the SAT will try to trip you up. During the SAT, you should always re-read the question before bubbling in your answer. Also, remember to double-check the scales on charts and graphs. The x-axis may be going up by one while the y-axis goes up by two, for example. Underlining all units will also be helpful. One part of the question may be asking about feet, while another talks about inches. Always pay attention to the wording of questions to prevent those careless mistakes.
Tip #5: Practice the Hardest Questions
Our final tip for a perfect SAT math score is to practice the hardest questions. Finding the most difficult questions is trickier to do with the new SAT, but a general rule is to go to the last half of the test. Try working backward while doing your practice SAT math tests and starting from the final question. As soon as you get to easy questions, you can skip over those to focus on the ones you found more challenging. This method won’t help with practicing your pacing, but if you’re looking to nail that perfect score, this can help you to hone in on the more complex items.
Hopefully these tips give from Brooke Hanson you a good idea on how to start perfecting your SAT math score. Happy studying!