Without practice, you won’t master SAT algebra.
You’ve learned quite a bit since you picked up this little book,
but now comes the hard part—you have
to apply it to testlike items. There are two practice sets at the end
of this book: one made up of multiple-choice items and one made
up of grid-ins. Here are some tips for getting the most out of these
- Do not time yourself on the first
practice set. When you begin, don’t worry about
time at all. Take as long as you need to work through each set.
- Read the explanations for all items, regardless
of whether you got them right or wrong. This is critical—always
read all the explanations for each
set’s items. The idea is to develop skills that help you score points
as quickly as possible. Most important, scoring a point doesn’t
mean you got it in the most efficient manner. The overarching goal
is to apply the methods you’ve learned. Whether
you get all, some, or none of the practice items right doesn’t matter.
After the first set, you may want to start paying attention
to time. Certainly by the actual test, give yourself about a minute
or so per item.
All the vital information and snazzy strategies you learn
in this book won’t do a lick of good if you don’t use them on the
day of the test. Sadly, this happens more often than you might think.
Students acquire useful tips, but once the test starts on Saturday
morning, all of it goes out the window.
To help ensure that this doesn’t happen to you, tackle
these two algebra sets using the skills and strategies you’ve
just learned. Don’t worry about how many you get right
or wrong: they’re just practice sets. Instead, focus on how well
you use the techniques you’ve learned. When you look at an algebra
item, can you tell what method would work best? If it’s an Obey
the Function! item, what kind of function item is it? If it’s a Storytime
Algebra item, what variables are in it, and what are some good numbers
to use as substitutes for the variables?
Don’t get frustrated by your progress on the practice
sets. Every mistake you make on practice sets is one that you will
avoid on the real test. Yes, there are some algebra rules you don’t
know, but learning about these on practice items corrects that deficit.
When the real SAT rolls around, you’ll have yet another tool in
your arsenal that you can employ if needed.