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.

Many SAT students, even top-level SAT students, make careless mistakes on their SAT, especially in the math section. Remember, if you make ten careless mistakes in 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.

Avoid careless SAT math mistake

Now, this is where a lot of students, even top-level students, make mistakes. 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 doing careful work. 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 underline or circle key concepts and key words in the math question. 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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