For the people who scored an 800 or close to it on sat math, how did you prepare? I want to find the perfect book I can practice on, besides CB blue book. Any suggestions?
I'm good at math, but I cannot think quickly with being timed. So, I want to master any type of problem that comes so that I don't really have to think that much.
There isn't a god-set rule of scoring highly on the math portion of the SAT. My advice to you is to
1). Stay collected, move at a very steady pace.
2). Avoid your calculator as much as possible when practicing.
3). Don't overthink the problem.. if you're spending too much time on it, there probably is an easier way
I got a 780 and all I can say is just practice all the types of questions. With enough practice you'll realize how elementary the math on the SAT actually is. Every question can be solved with simple calculations most of the time. The time limit was initially a problem for me as well but you have to read each question carefully the first time and trust your answer. I actually finished each math section with ample time to spare so I was able to go back and check some of my answers. Unfortunately this was not enough as I still got a question wrong...so frustrating -___-
I'll tell you how I got a perfect 800. Honestly all you have to do is maybe 5-10 practice sats, and you should be conditioned for all math problems. The problems can only get to a certain degree of difficulty which I would rate as highest being maybe a 6.
To be blatantly honest you are either clever or you're not. When it comes down to the test, you have to nail everything with no hesitation. What I told myself was that if I just thought out the problem and took care doing every single step correctly, I would be impossible for me to miss any problems.
I usually finish each math section with 7 minutes left, and everything right. Just use your cleverness to deduce an answer (it is after all remedial math), and if you can't be clever , practice more than 30 math sat sections.
Read PWN the SAT...highly recommended (more than Dr. Chung's math).
Then watch out for careless mistakes. This is the #1 killer for ppl trying to get 800. It's not that you don't know the math. It's just that you get trapped by the SAT's "careless error" traps.
There are two types of careless math mistakes:
1) actual careless mistakes where you wrote down a + but somehow copied it wrong in the next step as -, or maybe you stupidly added 3 + 7 as 9, or -2 + 10 as 12.
2) trap careless mistakes that the SAT and the ETS (evil testing serpent) love to employ
I was in your same boat back in high school - knew every math problem down pat. The problem? A score stuck in the mid to high 600s. I then broke 700 and got a 720...still wildly disappointing because I knew I was an 800 student. Finally I got an 800 on my last try by realizing how to eliminate "careless errors" - meaning the second type.
Here's the biggest secret about preventing the second type of careless errors:
Understanding that what you've been trained to solve for in school is NOT ALWAYS what the SAT is asking for.
We all know in school, we always solve for x. Get it down the simplest form. X = whatever, right?
The SAT writers love to exploit that fact. They will DELIBERATELY not ask for the value of x. They want to know y, or 2x, or x + 2, or something else. Yes, sometimes they ask just for x too, but a lot of times not!
YOU MUST RE-READ THE QUESTION BEFORE YOU ANSWER. Physically circle what they are asking for. If you don't physically circle and think you can just remember to check beforehand, you're wrong. You won't. I hate circling and underlining too. Too bad, do it.
Here's the thing: when you start solving a math question, esp. one with a lot of steps, you become INVESTED in your work. You want to solve it all the way down to its simplest form...which is x = whatever.
And for sure, x will be one of the answer choices. You get so excited you knew how to do the problem and that you figured out x, so your instinctively bubble in the first choice that matches.
Unfortunately, the question was asking for 2x. Maybe 2x was even your second to last step. You had 2x = 10, so therefore x = 5. But the answer is 10, not 5 because they want to know what 2x is, not x.
If you play COD (call of duty), there's something called the Last Stand - one final chance to kill your enemy. The SAT has their own version of the last stand for math. This is it. The last stand is to not ask you what you expect to be asked (x), but to ask you something else. You must take ONE EXTRA STEP and check what they are really asking.
BEAT THE LAST STAND and you'll cut your "careless" mistakes in half.
The other trick is to recognize the patterns in your careless mistake.
Popular careless mistake traps:
1) make you solve for x, then ask for y (or 2x, or x-squared, or x + 2, etc.)
2) make you solve for the area...then ask for perimeter, or vice versa
3) ask you what x-squared is...which turns is is something like 25, so you automatically pick 5 (which is x) instead of 25 (which is what they really are asking)
4) you find out the radius...they are actually asking for diameter
5) make you figure out a bunch of stuff about the area of a circle...then ask for circumference
6) you take the square root instead of squaring (second power), or vice versa
7) you confuse halving with doubling with squaring with square-rooting
8) ask you how many peanuts Bobby has...but make the number of peanuts Jill has a choice as well
9) add % to the answer choices (remember 0.1% is not the same as 0.1). You probably correctly solved the question and got 0.1 as your answer, but then you wrongly choose 0.1%...because correct answer would be 10%
10) make you solve question in feet...but make answer in yards or inches. But of course the "correct" answer in feet is also present in the choices (same with seconds, minutes, hours, days)
11) mention triangles (so now you're thinking about triangles and 180 degrees, etc.), but then ask something about squares at the last second
12) make you break up a larger shape into smaller more manageable shapes...so like a big triangle turns into two identical smaller triangles. You solve for the area of one of the smaller triangles, then forget you have to double it at the end because question wants the area of the BIG triangle (two small triangles together)
Study the above list of traps so that when you see "perimeter" you automatically think to check if they are asking for "area" and so on.
Honestly, I mostly prepared though practice tests. Try taking a math section and completing it in 20 mins instead of 25. This will train your mind to think more quickly.
Also, the big thing that kept me from a 800 on the practice tests was basic mental errors. Misreading questions, confusing diameters and radii, and stuff like that often led to me getting stuff wrong. I find that a quick two-pass on a question will remedy this: do every question, then if you have time, do them again. On your second pass, you might want to do them from the last question to the first, as the last questions tend to be the hardest, while earlier ones are easier.
But yeah, simply learning to actually read a question correctly bumped my math score from the low 700s on practice tests and the PSAT to a 800 on the actual SAT. Does wonders, really.
I got a 780 and all I have to say is that you have to be inherently good at your basic algebra and geometry. That stuff we did in 7th and 8th grade is pretty much what it all boils down to. You either know it or you don't. The only tip I have is that you need take your time to read the question to its entirety and stay calm! (=
Oh, and read Silverturtle's guide to the SAT.
See this is bothering me because I'm naturally good at math, I understand most problems on practice tests, every practice test I've done I gave myself 20 minutes to complete the sections, I was consistently getting no more than -2 wrong, yet when I actually took the SAT I got 9 wrong, for a score of 640. And for the most part I understand it all and it's only the occasional tough problem that I miss. Ah, this is infuriating.
Replies to: 800 SAT math
1). Stay collected, move at a very steady pace.
2). Avoid your calculator as much as possible when practicing.
3). Don't overthink the problem.. if you're spending too much time on it, there probably is an easier way
To be blatantly honest you are either clever or you're not. When it comes down to the test, you have to nail everything with no hesitation. What I told myself was that if I just thought out the problem and took care doing every single step correctly, I would be impossible for me to miss any problems.
I usually finish each math section with 7 minutes left, and everything right. Just use your cleverness to deduce an answer (it is after all remedial math), and if you can't be clever , practice more than 30 math sat sections.
Then watch out for careless mistakes. This is the #1 killer for ppl trying to get 800. It's not that you don't know the math. It's just that you get trapped by the SAT's "careless error" traps.
There are two types of careless math mistakes:
1) actual careless mistakes where you wrote down a + but somehow copied it wrong in the next step as -, or maybe you stupidly added 3 + 7 as 9, or -2 + 10 as 12.
2) trap careless mistakes that the SAT and the ETS (evil testing serpent) love to employ
I was in your same boat back in high school - knew every math problem down pat. The problem? A score stuck in the mid to high 600s. I then broke 700 and got a 720...still wildly disappointing because I knew I was an 800 student. Finally I got an 800 on my last try by realizing how to eliminate "careless errors" - meaning the second type.
Here's the biggest secret about preventing the second type of careless errors:
Understanding that what you've been trained to solve for in school is NOT ALWAYS what the SAT is asking for.
We all know in school, we always solve for x. Get it down the simplest form. X = whatever, right?
The SAT writers love to exploit that fact. They will DELIBERATELY not ask for the value of x. They want to know y, or 2x, or x + 2, or something else. Yes, sometimes they ask just for x too, but a lot of times not!
YOU MUST RE-READ THE QUESTION BEFORE YOU ANSWER. Physically circle what they are asking for. If you don't physically circle and think you can just remember to check beforehand, you're wrong. You won't. I hate circling and underlining too. Too bad, do it.
Here's the thing: when you start solving a math question, esp. one with a lot of steps, you become INVESTED in your work. You want to solve it all the way down to its simplest form...which is x = whatever.
And for sure, x will be one of the answer choices. You get so excited you knew how to do the problem and that you figured out x, so your instinctively bubble in the first choice that matches.
Unfortunately, the question was asking for 2x. Maybe 2x was even your second to last step. You had 2x = 10, so therefore x = 5. But the answer is 10, not 5 because they want to know what 2x is, not x.
If you play COD (call of duty), there's something called the Last Stand - one final chance to kill your enemy. The SAT has their own version of the last stand for math. This is it. The last stand is to not ask you what you expect to be asked (x), but to ask you something else. You must take ONE EXTRA STEP and check what they are really asking.
BEAT THE LAST STAND and you'll cut your "careless" mistakes in half.
The other trick is to recognize the patterns in your careless mistake.
Popular careless mistake traps:
1) make you solve for x, then ask for y (or 2x, or x-squared, or x + 2, etc.)
2) make you solve for the area...then ask for perimeter, or vice versa
3) ask you what x-squared is...which turns is is something like 25, so you automatically pick 5 (which is x) instead of 25 (which is what they really are asking)
4) you find out the radius...they are actually asking for diameter
5) make you figure out a bunch of stuff about the area of a circle...then ask for circumference
6) you take the square root instead of squaring (second power), or vice versa
7) you confuse halving with doubling with squaring with square-rooting
8) ask you how many peanuts Bobby has...but make the number of peanuts Jill has a choice as well
9) add % to the answer choices (remember 0.1% is not the same as 0.1). You probably correctly solved the question and got 0.1 as your answer, but then you wrongly choose 0.1%...because correct answer would be 10%
10) make you solve question in feet...but make answer in yards or inches. But of course the "correct" answer in feet is also present in the choices (same with seconds, minutes, hours, days)
11) mention triangles (so now you're thinking about triangles and 180 degrees, etc.), but then ask something about squares at the last second
12) make you break up a larger shape into smaller more manageable shapes...so like a big triangle turns into two identical smaller triangles. You solve for the area of one of the smaller triangles, then forget you have to double it at the end because question wants the area of the BIG triangle (two small triangles together)
Study the above list of traps so that when you see "perimeter" you automatically think to check if they are asking for "area" and so on.
Also, the big thing that kept me from a 800 on the practice tests was basic mental errors. Misreading questions, confusing diameters and radii, and stuff like that often led to me getting stuff wrong. I find that a quick two-pass on a question will remedy this: do every question, then if you have time, do them again. On your second pass, you might want to do them from the last question to the first, as the last questions tend to be the hardest, while earlier ones are easier.
But yeah, simply learning to actually read a question correctly bumped my math score from the low 700s on practice tests and the PSAT to a 800 on the actual SAT. Does wonders, really.
Oh, and read Silverturtle's guide to the SAT.