Important facts and secondary ideas are often found in sentences that contain certain direction reversal words. By far the most common such word on the SAT is but. Other words include although, despite, except, however, though, and yet.
Whenever you see one of these words in a passage, circle the word - the sentence may come in handy when you reach the questions.
The trouble with formulas is that virtually all students go into panic mode trying to remember some formula or other for a problem. When these same students find a formula, they go on automatic pilot solving it. In short, searching for and solving formulas often short circuits THINKING about the problem in front of you - especially when the problem may not require any formula to solve it in the first place.
To be sure, many SAT questions will require you to use a formula. But before you rush off in a mad dash to find and apply some formula, see how far you can get by applying a few moments of thinking about the question. At the very least, thinking about a question will clarify the issues you need to consider to avoid potential blunders.
The SAT Math Test is what the test writers call a “reasoning test”, but they could also call it a “noticing test.” The SAT Math Test is all about noticing things, which is no surprise since most thinking and reasoning begins with noticing something unusual about a situation, in our case, about a problem.
How does the SAT Math Test reward students who pause for a moment to notice things about each problem before solving it? By allowing such students to solve even complicated-looking questions quickly, sometimes in mere seconds. Students who rush into every problem with their blinders on, however, quickly find themselves mired in lengthy solutions that practically invite errors.
Picking a small number for x in math problems can turn a seemingly unsolvable problem into nothing more complicated than simple multiplication and addition of small integers. While this kind of approach won't work on every SAT math problem, it's always worth considering whether you can pick a number to simplify a difficult algebra problem.
Literary Excerpt passages may sound daunting but they're simply page long selections from novels and short stories.
Remember to read the ITALICS! Here's an example:
This passage is from Henry James's 1897 novel "What Maisie Knew", set in late nineteenth-century England. Here, Beale and Ida are in the midst of a quarrel regarding their young daughter Maisie.
Many students skip the italics that precede literary excerpts the same way they skip the test's directions, but the difference is that the italicized remarks actually serve a purpose: to give you a clarifying sneak preview of what you're about to read. In the sample above, for instance, we're given the setting, time period, and names of the main characters.
Even more importantly, we're given the relationship among the characters and a hint of the conflict - i.e. plot - that we're about to read. Not all of the SAT's italics are as forthcoming, but most of them reveal the setting, time period, and characters, which at the very least gives you a leg up on comprehending passages that feature challengingly antiquated language!
"Learn to take questions step-by-step. Sometimes, the solution does not become apparent until you start taking action, by writing things down or drawing a diagram or translating words into an equation. I can't tell you how many times I've walked over to a student who asked for help only to find that he's already figured it out by himself in the few extra minutes he had to wait while I was helping someone else. It's important to always take action even if you can't visualize the full path to the solution right away.
Every top-scoring student I've seen had a cut-throat intensity when it came to beating the test. They'd rather read the passage again than have to guess. They would underline what questions were asking for. They always labeled their diagrams. Any mistake would be noted and revisited. No question was going to slip through. It's that intense attitude during practice that conditions you for success on test day.
A lot of those students, however, didn't have that attitude when they first started. That intensity was something they improved and developed over time because a high score meant a lot to them, and it's something you too can practice. Yes, you can practice being serious by taking your tests seriously."