Dealing with the puzzling format of SAT via open-mind strategy

While it is critical to prepare for the SAT, chances are you will still run into some problems that you cannot easily Solved. On the current SAT, you pay a price for incorrect answers - a quarter of a point per wrong response.

On the redesigned SAT, however, you will pay only the chance cost of leaving an answer blank. Removing the incorrect-answer penalty should lead to numerous significant, if sometimes subtle, changes to your exam-day strategies.

1. Realize the true meaning of guessing-

When some exam-takers hear the word "guess,"they think of surrendering. They imagine a frustrated learner who simply throws her or his hands up and picks an answer at random. However, the savvy exam-taker understands that guessing involves strategy too.

Even when you cannot definitively choose a correct answer, you can often eliminate various options that are obviously incorrect. This approach is guessing done right. While you cannot earn good marks on the redesigned SAT by marking answers at random, working the odds by removing incorrect responses will boost your score more than it will on the present SAT.

2. Learn how to address time constraints-

A general lack of time is one well-known challenge on standardized examinations. My tutoring experience has shown that most scholars, much of the time, can solve nearly any SAT problem.

But puzzling through the sometimes difficult reading passages can take a great deal of time. Many of the math questions require multiple steps and brute-force calculations such as plugging numbers into the equation to see which option solves it. Exam-day anxiety can also cause student to become hyper-focused on solving every single question properly - and then suddenly realizing that the section is more than half over, and they still have more than half of the problems to solve.

On the present SAT, it is often worth identifying the hardest problems as soon as possible, and then easily skipping them. On the redesigned SAT, there is no reason to leave any problem or question blank. As time is winding down, read each problem and follow your immediate instinct. For example, you can typically eliminate any potential solution for reading comprehension problems that reference absolutes like always or never.

3. Recognize chain problems or questions-

The redesigned SAT has a number of problems that, like a chain, build off one another. Consider the University Board sample questions three and four here, for example. The third question asks you to interpret how one character feels about another. The next then asks you which sentence gives support for your solution to the third question.

Properly answering question Number three is important in order to properly answer the fourth question. Recognizing these linked problems and answering the first question right is thus essential. If you must guess, guess on the latter problems.

4. Develop a strategy for "lost cause" questions-

When you easily cannot arrive at solution, it is time to choose at - somewhat - random. On the current SAT, it is only worth guessing if you can eliminate at least two of the five possible solutions.

However, under the new format, there are only four answer options. Eliminating just one possible solution raises your odds of answering correctly from Twenty Five percent to Thirty Three percent. Functionally, this means that it is worth your time to research why each potential solution is incorrect. Once you have eliminated these choices, pick one of the remaining choices and move on.

5. Tackle open-ended problems-

You may be wondering how do deal with open-ended math problems. These problems are not multiple-choice, but fill-in-the-blank responses. While there is still no negative marking for guessing, it is far harder to guess a number than it is to guess one of a list of possibilities. So if you are really stumped by one of these problems, save it for last.

As you are planning for the redesigned SAT, memorize to develop a contingency plan for those moments when your initial plans become difficult. It is not sufficient to merely know how to solve problems, since nearly everyone will run into issues with problems or time that are simply too complex.

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    Colonel - 7/18/2016 5:55:13 AM

    Geez, that's unbleievabel. Kudos and such.

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