In SAT, just like in life, the only way to get better is to focus on your weaknesses and mistakes. Real improvement comes from obsessing over your errors and scrutinizing your mistakes or weak areas until they cease to exist.
You can’t buy a great SAT score – you need to work for it. And t he real work comes in the form of review.
When it comes to test prep, most students spend hours and hours of time practicing and attempting mock tests. However, they never spend quality time reviewing their test.
However, if you want to improve your SAT score, you must review your mis takes.
Bruce Lee said: “I’m not afraid of the man who has tried a million kicks once I’m afraid of the man who has tried one kick a million times.”
In other words, you will not master the SAT if you t ry to practice every question type on the SAT. You will only get better on t he SAT if you can highlight your problem areas and obsessively try to fix them. You need to defeat your weaknesses through repetition and familiarity.
The SAT is a One-Trick Pony: If you can master all the material on any one SA T, you have practically covered all the material that will be asked on any SA T. The passages, grammar facts, and math questions will change, but the concepts and strategies needed to solve those questions remain identical. It’s like the same person with a new suit.
Therefore, it's imperative that you master all the material and strategies required to ace any one SAT. If you can do t hat, you will be a ble to successfully answer at least 95% of t he questions on any SAT.
Repetition is important. If you know how functions work, you can solve almost any function problem. If you know how commas work, all comma problems become a breeze. If you know how to correctly answer one vocabulary-in-context problem in one reading passage, you’ll be able to solve any vocabulary-in-context problem in any reading passage.
For each question you have gotten wrong on a mock test, follow this review process.
a. What evidence did I need to answer this more effectively, but that I did not find in the passage?
b. Why was my answer wrong? What error did I not pick up on (too specific, too vague, etc.)?
c. Why did I cross out the right answer? What seemed like an error but actually wasn’t?
Do this for every single problem you missed. At the end of the section, add the number of questions wrong for each topic in the “SAT Test Trends Reading” page that follows this chapter.
Do this for every single problem you got wrong. At the end of the section, add the number of questions wrong for each topic in the “SAT Test Trends Writing and Language” page that follows this chapter.
Do this for every single problem you got wrong. At the end of the section, add the number of questions wrong for each topic in the “SAT Test Trends Math” page that follows this chapter.
Remember that the questions you got wrong are mighty important. They are even more important than the questions you got right. It sounds cliché, but each wrong question provides you with an opportunity to learn either a math or grammar or reading concept that you either missed or did not know.
There is a huge probability that a question that you got wrong will reappear when you take the SAT. You’d rather learn t he concept now t han get t hat question wrong on t he real test, right? Therefore, do not skip or shortchange this review process. It might seem agonizing or boring – and we won’t lie, it might be a little bit of both – but it will be well worth your time.
That’s all there is to it!