Data Analysis, Statistics & Probability
Pacing
Approach every SAT Math section like this party. First, get relaxed and comfortable by answering the items that you are familiar with. Jump around through the section and look for them. There is no rule that says you must answer the items in order. After you have answered all the items you are comfortable with, branch out and try the ones you are unfamiliar with.
This process is made easier by the fact that every Math section is set up by order of difficulty. The first item is the easiest, the next item is a tiny bit tougher, and so on until the end. A typical 20-item Math set breaks down the following way:
Difficulty Item Number
Easy 1–6
Medium 7–14
Hard 15–20
Keep this chart in mind as you take practice tests, but also remember that the order of difficulty is simply based on what the test-makers consider to be easy, medium, and hard. You are your own person, and you may find item 15 to be much easier to complete than item 5.
Answering every problem in order—no matter how long it takes—is a classic SAT mistake. Students start with item 1 and then just chug along until time is called. Don’t be that chugger! If an item takes more than a minute to solve, skip it and move on to the next item. The goal on the first run-through of an SAT Math section is to find the items with which you are most comfortable. Save the other items for your second go-around. Although the next item is statistically a little tougher, you might find them easier to answer.
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