3 Mistakes To Avoid On The SAT Math Section

Flickr user Jen R

All students, whether they are good or bad in high school math, can make the same mistakes on the SAT math section. These are some of the common mistakes that all students tend to make and how you can avoid them.

Mistake #1: Not Writing Out All Of The Steps

Writing out all the steps to solve a math problem can seem really tedious at any time, more so when you are fighting against the clock. But you just have to, even when solving problems that look simple. The fact is most math questions are quite intricate and require you to go through multiple steps to get the right answer. If you do not write out all of the steps, you could end up with the wrong answer, and if it’s a section where you cannot use a calculator, there is no way for you to double-check whether your answer is right besides looking through your work.

The only way to avoid losing marks unnecessarily is to write out all the steps. Better to take the time to do this than to take a shortcut and lose marks because your answer was wrong.

Mistake #2: Getting Confused By Unfamiliar Question Formats

SAT Math questions are often asked in the strangest of formats. Even those students who know their stuff are often confused when confronted with these unfamiliar question formats. So what do most students do? They skip the question, thinking they will come back to it when they are done with the rest of the section (which is not a bad strategy per se) or they simply resort to guess work.

To avoid this mistake, study past tests or take a practice SAT exam, so you get familiar with the way these questions are asked. Once you get past this obstacle, answering the questions will be a cinch!

Mistake #3: Not Answering The Question That Was Asked

One of the many problems with the way SAT math questions are formatted is that they throw multiple letters and numbers at you. The questions aren’t always straightforward, so the student has to read the question and pick out what needs to be answered. If interpreted incorrectly, you can wind up with a wrong answer.

The best way to avoid making this mistake is to take the time to read the question carefully. It may take a few seconds more but it is worth it. Don’t get distracted by all those numbers and letters in the question. As you read through it, underline the important information and ignore those extras. Start with the calculation only after you are sure you know what you are being asked in that question.

In all the above instances, the key is to take the time to read through the questions carefully and understand what needs to be answered. Time spent in doing this is far better than rushing through and losing precious marks because of careless mistakes.

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