Tips for SAT Math Mistakes

Alexis Avila Founder/President of Prepped & Polished offers advice on how to avoid careless mistakes on the math portion of the SAT test.

Underlining or circling the key words in the math question will help you to avoid careless mistakes by forcing you to read the problem carefully and know exactly what you are looking for.

Test Preparation

Transcript (PDF)

Full Word-for-Word Transcription

Hi everyone, Alexis Avila, founder of Prepped and Polished LLC. Now many
SAT students, even top level SAT students, make careless mistakes on their
SAT, especially on the math section.

Now remember if you make ten careless mistakes on the SAT math section,
that can cost you between 100 and 150 points, so you want to avoid careless
mistakes and this is how you do it. You’re going to underline and circle or
box key words in the math question.

For example, if A equals 2 x 4 x 6 x 8 and B equals 6 x 8, what’s the
remainder when A is divided by B. So what’s important in this question,
well, we need to know A so we’ve underlined that, and B is 6 x 8, what is
the remainder? I’m going to circle the remainder when A is divided by B.
Now you’re going to solve the question really carefully.

You’re going to clearly take A and divide it by B. So we’re going to say 2
x 4 x 6 x 8 divided by 6 x 8 which is B, we’re going to cancel and then
we’re going to solve and see that when A is divided by B you get 8. Now
this is where a lot of students make a mistake, even top level students.
They’re going to get so excited and wrapped around the fact that they
solved the question that A is 8 that they are going to circle E.

We’re going careful work and so we know that we are looking for the
remainder, and the remainder is clearly zero, there is no remainder when A
is divided by B. You’re going to circle A and move on. We’ve done careful
work. Now what you’re going to do to avoid careless mistakes in the math
section is you’re going to underline or circle key concepts, key words in
the math question. And then you’re going to reread the question and know
exactly what to look for in the SAT question.

I wish you good luck, and I’ll talk to you soon.

Did you find this SAT Math tip helpful? What are some other ways to avoid careless math mistakes on the SAT?

Post your tips/comments below.

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