3 Myths About Studying for the SAT

myth_busted_2Many general SAT strategies exist, hoping to answer the “how to” of SAT studying for every prospective student or curious parent.  While general strategies are a great place to get started in learning more about the SAT, we believe there is never just one go-to strategy that will help every student, every time.  Every student is unique in how they learn and what they need to learn.  That is why we provide concierge SAT prep tutoring and personal student coaching for each of our students.  Before any student begins a test prep course with us, we have a long talk with the student and their parents to determine how a student learns, what their strengths and weaknesses are, their current study habits, as well as gauging the student’s motivation to learn.

Still, most of these general test prep strategies aren’t all right in what suggestions they provide to students.  That’s why we are writing a special SAT Prep Mythbuster Blog to give students and their parents a few extra pointers in studying for the SAT.

MYTH #1: All Math Formulas Are Provided on the Test

While many math formulas are provided on the SAT, these formulas are meant as brief reminders and not as a simple go-to for all the answers.  Students who want to rely on the math formulas given on the SAT will find themselves wasting more time than students who have taken the time to memorize each formula.  Likewise, students that are wasting time flipping back and forth between pages on a short, timed math section will have increased text anxiety.  The clock will continue to count down, regardless of whether you’re on track to have all your questions answered.

Some of you may be thinking you’re too quick to waste your time flipping for formulas.  While some students may be perfectly capable of racing through a math section with the math formula page dog-earred for reference, these students should take note that not every formula required to answer SAT math questions will be listed on the math formula sheet.

Save yourself time by taking the time before your big test day to memorize every necessary math formula.

MYTH #2: Every Math Concept You’ll Find on the SAT is Taught in Class

Yes, every math concept you can dream of is taught… eventually.  The SAT covers basic Algebra, some Algebra II topics, and a variety of key Geometry concepts.  Students planning to take the SAT should also be planning out their high school curriculums accordingly.  If a student is not in an accelerated math program, they run the risk of being in the middle of Algebra II and not yet in a Geometry class when they first take the PSAT.  Plan your high school career accordingly.

As a student goes through each math class in high school, he or she should focus on committing these math concepts to memory.  Pre-Algebra builds on Algebra I which leads to Algebra II which then becomes a key part of Geometry.  If a student only does what it takes to get the grade without focusing on committing these concepts to memory, taking an all-inclusive test like the SAT will be daunting.

While the SAT won’t be as clear cut and concise as math concepts taught in high school, the basic Algebra and Geometry concepts are prevalent.  Be sure to utilize SAT-specific study tools when studying for the SAT math as reviewing your high school text books will be too much information and not enough depth.

Myth #3: Take As Many Timed Practice Tests As You Can

Well, yes and no.  Simply moving through a large book of practice tests won’t help a student at all.  In fact, evidence suggests that taking practice tests over and over again may even decrease a student’s SAT score from one test to the next.  A student cannot improve without consciously reviewing the material.

SAT Preparation Group CEO, Steve Kirshenbaum often notes that studying for the SATs is like training as a professional athlete.  An athlete cannot simply show up to the big game and expect to do their best.  Likewise, an athlete doesn’t improve their skills by playing the game over and over again without review.  An athlete will watch game tapes, analyze what they do best and what they can improve on.  Similarly, an athlete will train their body and their mind.  While we encourage regular practice tests for all of our students, SAT Preparation Group doesn’t just stop there!  We help students to review the materials, point out areas they have improved in as well as areas that still need a little extra help.  Rather than telling a student to go back to the drawing board and take a test again, we discuss different ways a student can improve – through mental practice and healthy habits.

If you’re studying on your own and not utilizing a professional student coach or test prep tutor, make sure to grade your practice test by marking each question as a hard, medium, or easy question.  Color-code the questions.  Make questions that are hard or medium to you a daily priority.  Review easy questions just a few times a week.  Consider where you might be making careless mistakes.  Are you rushing through the section?  Are you overly confident on this subject?  Dig deep to discover the “why” behind your correct and incorrect answers.  Take practice tests over and over again as a way to measure your improvement.  Review each test to know how you should improve.

file-684870121SAT Preparation Group advises in test prep, college planning, and success strategies for teens. Call Us Today at 877-672-8773 or click here for a free consultation.

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