In SAT, being stuck between 700-750 causes a twitch that only a perfect 800 can ease out. Most students that are in the line of 700s are struggling to score a perfect 800 in SAT math. Even though you will get admission in good universities with your current score, a perfect score is always something to be proud of. But it is not easy to reach there. A whole new level of perfection is mandatory. It is the highest level of expertise in the exam that can prove to be extremely beneficial to get admitted to an elite university.
When it comes to getting a perfect score, most students believe that it is luck by chance. Well, to some extent it might be true but you can't deny the fact that you have to bring yourself in such a position that you have given your best before blaming the luck factor.
On that note, if you are one of the students that have been gazing at the golden number 800 for a long time, its time to buckle up and upgrade your study methods and leave no stones unturned to achieve your goal.
Why run after the perfect Sat Math scores?
Most universities consider the overall score for admissions. Then why all this hype for achieving a perfect score in SAT math? Have you ever wondered that despite the fact your reading and writing are perfect you tend to lose a lot of marks in that section and you never know why? Well, this kind of uncertainty and unpredictability doesn't occur in math. You do a question right, you get marks for it, as simple as that! It somehow compensates for any possible errors in the other sections and is usually more straightforward. It also offers you a lot of flexibility and improves your overall score to a great extent.
If your score is somewhere below 1530, you need to cross that threshold as most universities give credit only above 1530. It would bug you for the rest of your life if you are unable to get into one of the top 10 universities because of a few 5-10 marks. So, in order to avoid that frustration and guilt, it is a wise move to aim for a perfect 800 in math.
All you require is a gentle push and you will be right on track. If you are applying for a science major in universities like Princeton, Caltech, and Harvard, they are going to doubt your abilities if you have a score below 750.
It is all about the comparison between different students. Even if you do manage to get an admission in one of the prestigious universities, even a 750 would be considered below average as a majority of your batch-mates would be flaunting a perfect 800. If you are determined to work your way up to perfection, no matter how much it takes, it is all going to be worth it in the end. After all, the scores matter. You should know that you are competing with students for whom scoring an 800 is fairly easy.
SAT prep strategies to do what it takes:
If you have decided that you are going to do what it takes to achieve that level of perfection, it is time to take the next step. You have to follow a strategic approach if you wish to achieve your goal.
1. Self-analysis before starting the SAT preparation
Whenever you are appearing for an exam it is important to know your strengths and weaknesses beforehand. This way you can maintain your strong points by constant revision and work on your weaknesses to master them.
SAT math practice testing without any time limit:
Every college board publishes a blue book in order to enable students to take a diagnostic analysis test. Attempt any 3 math portions without setting a timer and see how much time it takes for you to complete them. When there are no constraints applied, it lets you get an idea of your natural abilities when it comes to solving math problems. It is important to take note of the time you start the test and the time you finish it.
Suppose you do all the questions correctly but are unable to keep within the time limit provided. Then, most probably, you don't need to review the concepts from scratch. Instead, you can spend some time working on quicker ways to solve the problems. Remember, all the problems won't be labor-intensive. You are going to learn various tricks and techniques to solve math problems quickly as you go deeper into your preparations and start practicing frequently.
Getting to know your weakness
There are students whose foundation of math is weak and there are others who know the concepts well but are unable to implement it is such strict time constraint.
Results of the analysis without time limit:
1.) When your SAT score is below 700
If you are not able to touch the 700 bar or your score is 700 or below, it indicates trouble because, in this analysis, timing is not a part of the test. Either you have massive weaknesses in a few topics or small weaknesses in numerous topics. Either way, you should know that a lot of effort is required and you need to physically as well as mentally prepare for it.
2.) When your SAT score is above 700
Good news! If you are aiming for a perfect score and you score above 700 without time constraints, you are halfway there. Such a score indicates that most of the concepts are clear to you and you just need to brush up on the remaining parts. Chances are, your speed is not up to the mark. Still, you are in a much better position as you don't need to build your concepts from the beginning. Instead, you just need to devise ways and means to beat the time limit and excel.
3.) When your SAT score is above 750
Congratulations! You are almost there. In this case, it is possible that timing is the reason why you can't get a perfect score. But since this analysis is devoid of any time restrictions, chances are you are making careless mistakes. A little bit of attention and concentration will get you to score the golden number, provided you don't lose focus.
SAT Testing with the time limit
Once you have evaluated how you perform without the timer, its time to put the time constraint and check for sure what the problem is. If you score below 740 in this test, you need to brush up your skills to get an extra 10. Breaking the 750 barriers should be first on your target list. Only after doing that you should move on to even thinking about 800. When you have completed the test with a good score, check whether the questions you didn't attempt were due to the time restriction or unclear concepts. Solve the questions left, once you have completed the test. If you solve them correctly, all you need to do is some time management and you are good to go.
2. SAT math topic-specific strategies
Different strategies are required for covering various topics. A technique beneficial for a particular subject can prove to be null and void for another.
The formula for the mean of a group of numbers is important, yet an underestimated one. The value of a particular data point can easily be determined if you know when and how to apply this formula. You can also make use of this formula while solving complicated questions related to average.
2.) Data analysis
Mostly the concept of mean, median, and mode is applied in data interpretation and analysis. While solving such problems, it is better to note down all the values or objects in ascending or descending order so that you have a clear idea of the data. Also, this way you can readily use the data as per the requirements. Problems related to statistics can be really beneficial in improving your score, provided, you grasp the concept well.
While solving circles, there are a handful of formulas you need to learn by heart. The questions pretty much revolve around those formulae. Another thing that can help you solve circle problems more readily is making diagrams. This habit can come in real handy when you are solving questions in which one circle is inscribed into another or when figures are overlapping. Just remember, even if you make the diagram, the problem won't have a very obvious solution. Use a combination of various methods to get an accurate answer.
All angles sum up to 180 degrees in a triangle. This little piece of information is very important as there are going to be a lot of questions based on this. The level can vary, but if you fail to remember this simple fact, your chances of getting a perfect score will be ruined. Pythagoras theorem is an important part of this topic. Side ratios of right triangles are also important, so, you need to memorize them. Make a diagram and mark anything on it as long as it is relevant to the question.
For solving problems related to angles, you need to know lines, how an intersection of lines create triangles and concepts of parallel lines. You should also know how important the role of angles is in the congruency of triangles. The angle is a topic that forms the basis of many advanced concepts. If you are not through with it, you need to understand angles, before moving on to other complicated topics.
The above-listed topics are just for the purpose of explanation. There are many topics you have to gain mastery in such as basic and advanced algebra, problem-solving techniques, trigonometry, etc. In order to facilitate the most effective training, you should break down all the topics into subtopics and focus on one section at a time. This way you can concentrate on your weaknesses in a precise manner and polish your strengths. The repetitive and relentless practice is sufficient to fill any gaps in the knowledge of a particular topic or subject.
Wherever it seems there is a lack of preparation, completely divert your attention from everything else, and do not rest unless you have covered up that topic that was giving you trouble. Once you identify the issue, you can be relieved as you have paved a way for your improvement. If you are unable to solve a question from a particular topic, make sure that you study that topic well because there might be other weaknesses that you have not explored yet. Make sure you don't forget any formula or concepts. For that, you need to constantly practice and revise old topics alongside learning new ones.
3. Learning from mistakes and SAT math practicing
When you are making a target of a perfect 800, you don't have the option of leaving out anything. There is absolutely no room for any sort of imperfection on behalf of the student. Your preparation and practice, both have to be up to the mark. Once you commit a mistake, make a resolution that you will never repeat it again. Merely knowing your mistake is not enough. If you haven't understood the cause of your mistake and how to eradicate the cause at its root, there is no point in appearing for practice tests.
So, make sure that along with understanding the concepts, you understand your mistake well and never ever repeat it again. It is essential to practice different varieties of questions in bulk as it acts as an exercise to your brain. Only by eliminating every single mistake from scratch can you fully excel and show your true potential in the SATs.
Even during practice tests you should review the answers that you have marked and make sure you think deeply about the unanswered questions, the problems you faced, and the possible solutions to those problems. Careless errors such as not reading the question properly can prove extremely fatal at this stage. Even if you did misread the question once, always review the answers in the end. It will help you identify any careless mistakes and prevent those during the main examination.
Although another thing you should keep in mind is that too much practice can physically and mentally exhaust you. Therefore, don't forget to take breaks in between to refresh your brain. When your brain is exhausted, it is difficult to understand mistakes in depth.
How to avoid careless SAT mistakes:
Nothing is more frustrating than marking something wrong when you could have done it correctly. Let us take a look at some ways to avoid any careless mistakes.
- When you are asked to find out the area, make sure you underline the word 'area' so that you accidentally don't find out the perimeter.
- Note down values and units in the rough space for easy reference.
- Be careful while bubbling in the answer sheet. When you are marking the answer for the 8th question, carefully look at the answer sheet to determine that it is, in fact, the 8th question that you are marking, not the ones above or below it.
- Use a calculator only for complex calculations.
4. SAT practice test: Trying relentlessly
Suppose you are solving a practice test and you are not able to solve a particular question in one go. Instead of giving up on your first attempt and looking at the explanation, give it another try. Reading the answers and their explanation, in the beginning, can ruin your practice and weaken your brain. This method is known as passive learning and is not effective during the beginning stages of preparation, especially when you are trying to master concepts. Passively absorbing the information makes it difficult to implement an approach while solving a problem when the time comes.
Think of a tricky question like a puzzle. When you are trying to solve a puzzle, you don't get the correct pattern the right way. There are some trials and errors before you actually reach your goal. A similar case is with math questions in the SAT. It is a tough exam. They are not going to give you questions that have obvious and straightforward answers.
This technique might seem a little weird at first. After all, you are giving up only because you don't know how to solve a problem, right? But when you try again and again, you give yourself the opportunity to device a new technique or strategy to solve that question. Who knows, something might pop up suddenly and you get the correct answer even though you were not sure in the beginning. Sometimes, things just click. Moreover, for future reference, you will know what kind of approach does not work with a particular type of question.
5. Mastering the rare SAT math topics
When it comes to scoring in the SAT, most students prefer to prepare important topics and give full attention to it. This leaves the not so important subjects out in the cold and you might even end up shunning those topics completely due to lack of time just before the examination. There is nothing as non-important if you are aiming for a perfect score. You will have to prepare everything from start to end without leaving out anything in between.
Even though algebra is a dominant section of the SAT math, mastering it will do only 50 percent of the work. You have to study the other topics in-depth too, even if they are not as important. There are some topics that have just been asked only a few times. Students tend to skip those topics as they are too lengthy and the effort is not worth it in the end. This approach is alright if you are targeting 700 but not for a perfect score.
6. Marking the math answer bubbles
Almost every student underestimates the correct technique of marking the bubbles in the answer sheet. They don't even consider it to be something that needs any thought. This is what differentiates the toppers from average students. They think about every aspect in detail. The most common practice while marking bubbles in an examination is to find out the correct answer, mark the bubble, and move on to the next question. This goes on until the student reaches the last question. This approach creates a lot of distraction and diversion as you are trying to do two different tasks at the same time. You are diverting your brain as well as moving your eyes again and again.
The correct way of marking : Math answer
Start marking the bubbles only when you are done solving the entire paper. This way, you eliminate any chances of errors in marking and focus on the task at hand, instead of constantly switching between various tasks. You will also save about 10 seconds per question. Looking at the big picture, this is a big achievement. You should know that this will give you sufficient time to review the questions and correct any errors.
Make sure you keep track of time as it is better to bubble all the answers at least 5-10 minutes before the end of the exam. Don't get so engrossed in solving the questions that you completely forget to fill in the answer sheet.
In conclusion, sounds like a lot of work, doesn't it? Well, let's face it, it is. Preparing for the SAT is itself a mentally draining process. Imagine the amount of work you have to put when you are aiming for the perfect score. Ineffective study methods are not going to do you any good. You are going to have to make a lot of sacrifices. But if you put all your heart into it, prepare with utmost dedication and give your hundred percent, there is nothing in this world that can stop you from achieving a perfect 800 score in SAT math. Just apply the above-mentioned strategies, don't deviate from your goal and you are good to go.