Data Analysis, Statistics & Probability
Without practice, you won’t master SAT DS&P. 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 items.
  • 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 Saturday morning, all of it goes out the window.
To help ensure that this doesn’t happen to you, tackle these two sets using the skills and strategies you 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 learned. When you look at a DS&P item, can you tell what type of item it is? If it’s a Data Puzzler, did you remember to arrange the values from smallest to largest? If it’s a What the #!*@?, are you dealing with a permutation or a combination?
Don’t get frustrated by your progress on the practice sets. Every mistake you make on the practice sets is one that you will avoid on the real test. Yes, there are some DS&P 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 DS&P fact in your arsenal that you can employ if needed.
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