The trouble with formulas...
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.
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