Numbers & Operations
Pacing
Approach every SAT Math section like this party. On the first go-around, look at and answer the easy, familiar items first. This process is made simpler by the fact that every Math section is set up in order of difficulty. The first item is the easiest, the next item’s a tiny bit tougher, and so on until the end. A typical twenty-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 item 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 one. The goal on the first run through of an SAT Math section is to answer the items with which you’re most comfortable. Save the other items for the second go-around. Although the next item is statistically a little tougher, you might find it easier to answer.
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