The SAT / ACT exams, along with other exams require mathematical understanding.
These tests are different from your typical math exam in school. As such, it is clear you need to learn a new skill set of mathematical thinking. The skills that will help you during your typical high school math course will definitely help but they are not enough.
In the paragraphs below you’ll read how, from my perspective, these tests differ from normal tests you are familiar with and why understanding the unique tasks and skills you are required to demonstrate while taking them is critical for your preparation and success.
I will refer to the test as “the SAT” but you can replace it with ACT (or GRE, GMAT, MCAT, GED, Praxis etc.). These entrance exams and ability tests share many common themes.
Lets face it, your SAT score is in many cases equal in importance to your high school diploma. Many times it is actually the critical factor determining your acceptance to the college you so much want to attend – either by placing you within the acceptance list or through allowing you to win the scholarships that will leave some cash in your (or your parents’) pockets.
One would say this is a huge relative impact for a 4 hour exam. Especially when compared to the effort you put forth learning a wide range of topics during high school for 4 years, AP exams you might have taken, and the extra-curricular activities you participated in. However, we are here not to change the system but to get the best we can out of it.
Once you accept the critical importance of the SAT, your next task is to ask yourself “What is the best strategy FOR ME to prepare and obtain the highest score possible?”
The answer is “Depends”. However, if you are reading this paragraph I assume your scores on the quantitative reasoning sections (when you took a mock exam or the actual SAT) were not as high as you would like them to be. Moreover, they are probably far below the scores you were able to obtain on the other sections.
If this is the case, these are actually good news. Why? Because it is this section you can improve the most on, it is the one you can actually learn for and practice the most, and finally, it demands the lowest amount of time (weeks to 3 months) to attain your maximal potential.
Throughout the solved section and the Blog you can find solved questions from the SAT question of the day. The explanations I provide will give you an idea to how these questions differ from the ones you encountered during your high school math exams.