Rashad Evans, former UFC middleweight champion once said, “If I go as hard as I can in practice [and] make sure it’s a lot harder than a fight, then the fight’s going to be easy.” That should be your mentality with the SAT. Think of it as do-or-die. This one test could determine your post-high school future, so why not train for it like Rashad Evans?
The SAT is designed to be tricky; it’s basically a math IQ test. Thus, preparation for this exam will be different from what you’ve been used to in your math classes. It’s simply not a study-guide-looks-just-like-the-exam type of exam. So in order to tackle this test, here are some SAT strategies that will help improve your math score.
First, you have to study differently.
Because of the nature of the SAT, studying for it will require some effort. Instead of studying to gain knowledge, it’s more important to gain a full understanding of the concepts. Before this point, most high school students study math superficially: they want to know how to do the problems in their homework and nothing more.
As an example, many students can tell you what the quadratic formula is, but not know how to complete the square (even though the formula was derived by completing the square). Therefore, to study for this exam, it helps to not just know how, but also to know why. Why is it that if the discriminant is zero (in the quadratic formula) there is only one real solution? Why is it that sin(180-x)= sin(x)? Why is it that cosine is an even function and sine is odd?
Study as if there is an annoying voice asking “why” for every concept you come across.
Second, make your study sessions progressively harder.
Just as Rashad Evans makes training harder than fights, you should be studying harder concepts than will appear on the exam. Once you’ve studied to gain understanding, it’s time to test it. Start easy and build up; take on problems that require more of you than you are completely comfortable with. Test your knowledge.
If you’re studying through a book, start with earlier exercises (1-15 problems in a set), then work your way up to the end (some of which might be word problems). Look on the internet and search for “hard [insert math topic you are studying here] problems” and take those on. The key is to really try to solve these problems, and if you can’t, don’t get discouraged; the attempt itself causes new connections to form in your brain. This will ultimately make you smarter, and since the SAT is a form of an IQ test, it will only help to give those problems your best effort.
Finally, get an SAT tutor.
You need an SAT mentor. Just like the best fighters have their mentors in their corner, you too need an SAT coaching staff. You need a team to give you advice and offer a fresh perspective. A team you can ask your tough questions to–one that will provide detailed answers that make sense. Some students may or may not be fortunate enough to have such a mentor guide them to success, but luckily, at Sage, there is a network ready to help. Having such a team in your corner will only increase the chances of you reaching your full potential on the SAT and beyond.
Once the day comes, and you’ve spent months preparing (shedding blood, sweat, and tears in the process), it’s finally go time. At Sage, our SAT and test prep experts teach results-guaranteed curriculum that enables students with the tactics and skills necessary to take on the SAT and more. Our educators and mentors provide customized support for each individual and can help students plan and organize a schedule best suited for them and their academic success.
The day of the test, wake up at a reasonable time, make your favorite breakfast, listen to your favorite pump-up music, and keep the good vibes going until you get to the test center. Once at the center, you want to calm your nerves; Sage recommends inhaling and exhaling for no shorter than 5 seconds (there’s just something about exhaling for a long period of time that forces your brain to relax).
Then, get your instruments ready, remind yourself once more about how hard you’ve worked, how much understanding you’ve gained, how this test will be cake compared to your studying… and knock the SAT out! When it comes to math, there will be two rounds: one 25 minute round with 20 questions and with no calculators allowed and one 55 minute round with 38 questions and with calculators allowed. You got this, champ! Stay focused and push yourself while studying and you will do just great.
Need homework help, test prep tutoring, or an academic mentor to help keep you on track of your goals? Contact us to request more information and to get started with Sage!
Abiodun Oseni graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a major in Pure Mathematics. He spent an extra year as an undergraduate at UCSC to take graduate level math courses in Abstract Algebra, a field that caught his interest. He started independently tutoring at a young age (16). He would have one-on-one tutoring sessions in Starbucks with fellow high school students. He then went on to tutor at the drop-in center of his community college, and also tutored college level math at UCSC’s Learning Support Center while working with high school and middle schools at Academic Aptos Tutoring Center. In the summer of 2015 and 2016, he interned for Calteach where he went to Gonzales High School and James Lick High School (both schools of high need) to assist high school teachers and students.
Abi is really passionate about mathematics and enjoys sharing that passion through tutoring and teaching. When Abi isn’t working he is usually playing soccer, poker, chess, FIFA, or eating or sleeping.