A holistic approach to learning MATH

Math Tutoring

Dr. Dan’s Corner”,


Tips for a Perfect Score on SAT Math (3)

The "Test-After-Test” Approach is the most common approach to test preparation and it involves either taking “mock” tests or solving problems from disparate sections of real tests using books such those publish by the College Entrance Examination Board. The former allows the student to emulate the test experience by taking complete tests within the actual test’s time limit. In addition to the problem-solving experience and the exposure to the wide range of math topics and degrees of difficulty, this approach also is useful for allowing you to get a glimpse into the “real thing” and experience the impact of time constrains on your performance.

The "Identification of Weaknesses /Gaps" Approach, while complementing the “test-after-test” approach, fills in the gaps and adds more efficiency to the test preparation process. This approach uses books that group the math required for the test by topics and sub-topics, each of which being prefaced by a summary of the theoretical concepts involved. Following that, exercises and problems dealing with that particular topic are given to complete the preparation-by-topic approach. The proper selection of the book is paramount. A “good” book would not used problems that in a real test would be classified as “easy.” This way the students are given the opportunity to challenge themselves in the preparatory environment, making the real test appear “easier” than expected . This targeted approach should be used to identify weaknesses and gaps in theory, problem content, and problem types. It is extremely useful in adding efficiency to the process of test preparation, especially if you have already taken the test once and you are concentrating on improving your score.

The "Take-the-Challenge" Approach implies that you should constantly challenge yourself. Here are some suggestions:

• Skip problems that look easy and/or revolve around topics with which you are comfortable.

• When practicing working on a section of a real test, skip the first two thirds (typically, first = “easy”; second = “medium”; third = “hard” problems).

• Solve more word and open-ended problems, i.e., problems that traditionally fall into the “hard” category.

• Solve more problems on topics that are not “easy”; statistically, these could be topics such as: probabilities, geometric and arithmetic sequences, Venn diagrams, etc.

I recommend all the above techniques be used alternatively. However, the time ratio spent on using them should be slightly in favor of a combination of the second and third approaches with a more accurate recommendation depending on your specific needs.