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Getting Difficult SAT Math Questions Correct by Dr. Steve Warner

In this PDF I am going to teach you how to start getting more difficult SAT math questions correct. First of all it is important to understand what it means for an SAT question to be difficult. The College Board classifies each SAT question into 5 levels. These levels are determined by using the experimental section of an SAT. This is a section on each SAT that is not graded. Instead it is used for statistical data. If most students get an experimental question correct it is then considered “very easy” or Level 1. If most students get an experimental question wrong it is considered “very hard” or Level 5. So the level of an SAT question may or may not have to do with the “actual difficulty” of the question. It is determined by how many students got the question wrong on a specific test. Before reading on you need to decide if you should even be attempting difficult SAT math questions. For example, if you are a student currently scoring below a 500 in math on College Board practice tests, then you should really only be practicing Level 1 – 3 math problems. Did you know you can get about a 600 in SAT math without answering a single “difficult” question? If you are scoring below 650, there is no need to practice Level 5 questions. You should begin practicing these harder questions only after you are scoring higher on practice tests. Now those of you that have scores high enough to be attempting Level 4 and 5 problems please read on.

If you take a moment to think about why most students got these “difficult” questions wrong you can use this to your advantage. There are several possible reasons for a student to get a question wrong. These include: (1) The question was genuinely difficult (2) The student didn’t understand the question (3) The student was tricked The first two obstacles mentioned can be overcome with practice. By practicing a few Level 4 and 5 questions every day, your skill level will naturally improve. The third obstacle requires a bit more caution. Here are some ways to avoid being tricked on hard questions: • Do not go with your first instinct on math questions that appear close to the end of a math section. In fact, you may want to eliminate this answer choice instead. • Practice using SAT specific math strategies on harder math problems. Even basic strategies like plugging in, taking guesses, picking numbers, and drawing pictures can be extremely effective in hard problems. More advanced techniques can be found in a good SAT math prep book.

• Redo hard questions you get wrong every few days until you can get them right on your own – even if you understand the solution completely. • Pay particular attention to what the question is asking for. Just because you found x, it does not mean that the question is asking for x. For more information please visit:

Getting difficult sat math questions correct  
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