Math is the toughest part of the perfect SAT score goal for me. The fact is (and you can check this with the scoring guides at the end of the first four tests in the blue book) there is almost no room for error or blanks. This is in contrast to the Critical Reading where you can leave three blank and still score an 800!
The tips below are specifically about the 18-question math section(s) on the SAT. Hopefully you’ve noticed that this section is quite different in appearance than the 16 and 20-question sections. After question 8, it has a grid-in section with no multi-choice answers!
Did you also realize that the order of difficulty is different? …that there can be no negative answers? … that you must bubble in the answer, but you don’t have to write it in the squares? … that you should never try to fill-in a mixed number?
Let’s start with the order of difficulty. This 18-question section doesn’t go from easy to hard in a straight shot like the other sections; it goes easy to hard from 1-8, then easy to hard from 9-18. What does that mean for you? That means if number 7 or 8 is giving you the sweats, you should choose to collect easier points (they are all worth the same, you know!) by starting number 9 in the grid-in and come back to those later.
The second point is simple: there is no option to bubble-in a negative sign, so the answer will NEVER be negative!
The third point is for those of you that are always worried about time- and who isn’t? If you are confident that you don’t need to handwrite the numbers in order to correctly bubble them in, then don’t handwrite them. It’s only a suggestion to do so, not a requirement. The writers don’t want to be blamed because you mis-bubbled 1/3 as 1/(space)3 by accident.
Finally, always bubble in the improper forms of fractions instead of their mixed numeral forms (if they are top-heavy). In other words, don’t try to bubble 53/4 for “five and three-fourths”. It will be read as “fifty-three fourths”. Instead, bubble in the improper version: 23/4.
Remember to work with focus and speed on the math, and make sure to time yourself as you practice the blue book tests. Best of luck on next Saturday’s test!