Misreading questions!

DS20 will be taking the SAT and the 11th grade PSAT in October. He just took a proctored real practice test at a testing center and scored well (770 reading and writing and 750 math which was a good improvement on his first official SAT in March - 750 reading and writing and 680 math) but when he was reviewing the problems he missed on the practice test he found he had missed four math questions and one reading question only because he misread the question! This is so frustrating! We are in Texas and he just can’t afford to make these kind of silly mistakes and make National Merit!

Any suggestions on how to correct this issue? He’s been working on Khan, PWN the SAT, and Erica Meltzer’s Critical reader and SAT Grammar Book. I’ll also sign him up for another proctored practice test in September but time is running out!

Does your kid tend to skim read? Maybe he tends to rush through things. Our brains sometimes makes conclusions about a sentence or statement without reading thoroughly. It happens to me a lot when reading long emails. A way to slow things down might be to read aloud, though that’s probably not going to be allowed at a standardized test.

I guess I can suggest he whisper the questions as he reads them if that is allowed?

It’s certainly a good suggestion under normal circumstances, but I’m not sure how a proctor would feel about that in a room where you can hear a pin drop.

@3scoutmom was this the same kid who mis-bubbled a couple years ago? What do you do with a kid like that? :wink:

Honestly - he’ll probably be fine. It’s still a couple months away from NMSQT and his SAT is already well above what the TX cut off will be.

Yup, same kid - also left a few math questions blank, not even a guess. He’s my third and the other two did not have these issues! So it’s making me a bit crazy. He KNOWS how to solve questions, he’s a smart kid, but reads the question wrong. There has to be a fix for this somehow. I really like the idea of reading the questions aloud even though it’s not practical.

I’m also concerned that the Texas cut off will go up next year.

TX cutoff might increase but fortunately the upper end is still compressed so won’t move as much as the lowest end (which only went up a point this year from 211 commended to 212). We’ll know more in a few weeks I guess.

How quickly is he wrapping up these sections? If there’s any time to spare, he might double check for blanks. It would be hard to re-visit every question to make sure he read it correctly - better to spend a tad more time reading through (2x if necessary). Sounds like it might be an issue of proper focus. My son solved that by drinking a cup of coffee in the morning, but that’s not for everyone!

@JBStillFlying I hadn’t thought about that! He’ll be taking one more proctored practice test before the real deal and will try coffee to see if that helps, I not sure if he’s ever had coffee before- thanks for the suggestion!

On practice question, have him start to circle all the pertinent info, as well as underlining the last line of the question-- that’s usually where they tell you what they want to know. (While I’m pretty sure it’s not allowed on the exam, even have him highlight the info in practice to get into the habit.)

Also, a question: What is the number of the questions he’s missing? College Board pretty much organizes the questions from easiest to hardest (though, of course, that’s frequently in the eye of the beholder.) If he’s missing the “easy” questions, then, yes, he may just be rushing and misreading them. But if he’s missing the “hard” questions, there may be more at play.

@3scoutsmom - he should experiment with the taste before the day of the proctored test. My S19 uses a bit of heavy whipping cream (in fact, it’s become a family joke because he won’t use regular milk) and at first was also spooning in a bit of sugar (which he’s since cut out). His practice SAT score jumped significantly when he started drinking a cup in the morning. I’m convinced that it helps with focus but, like any liquid, it can lead to more bathroom breaks. Best to begin well before the real PSAT so he has his morning routine down pat. Good luck to him!