Panel of Experts

Karl Schellscheidt

SAT Prep Expert

  • BSE, Princeton University '90
  • M.A., Secondary Education Seton Hall University '93
  • J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School '00

Fred Hargadon

Dean of Admission

  • Swarthmore College
  • Stanford University
  • Princeton University

Don Betterton

Financial Aid Expert

  • Director of Financial Aid, Princeton University (1973-2006)
  • Certified College Planner
  • Principal, Betterton College Planning

Seamus Malin

Admission Expert

  • Harvard University
    Dir. of Financial Aid
    Asst. Dean of Admission
    International Office Director

Mastering Your SAT Test Weaknesses

Karl Schellscheidt

free sat test videoAs a teenager, percent math problems were the bane of my existence. I always seemed to get them wrong on the SAT test. I will share my strategy for mastering percent problems, so you can apply the strategy to your areas of weakness on the SAT. It’s an easy way to help maximize your SAT score….

Mastering Your SAT Test Weaknessess

The topic that I’d like to discuss right now is called “How I mastered percent problems.” When I think back on my high school years and I think about my SAT experience, I think a lot of parents will be able to connect with this. There wasn’t much in the way of SAT preparation back when we took the test. They pretty much just sent us in and they told us where to go and when to be there and gave us two number two pencils. We went in and took the test and really your preparation was taking the test. The first test became your preparation and the second one became the real one.

I was a more motivated student than most people, and I did a little bit of preparation before the test on my own. One thing that became clear to me as I was preparing was that I was consistently getting percent problems wrong. I just want to share with you some of my thoughts on how I dealt with that at that time. What I wound up doing as a young person was I first of all realized I was getting percent problems wrong all the time. I think the first important thing is to realize what kind of problems are really giving you trouble. For me it was percent problems.

I think that that’s probably a subject area that a lot of people have trouble with. So I don’t think I’m alone in that one. But what I wound up doing was, I wound up going back and sort of looking at my SAT prep stuff and figuring out what are the different kind of percent problems that were thrown at me. Kind of categorizing them and figuring out what formula to use for which ones.

This is the real pearl of wisdom. What I had to do in order to not only understand percent problems but to get them right on an SAT test was I needed to really slow myself down for the percent problems. I had to understand that I consistently was getting them wrong. My reaction then was to try to master the subject area. But then also when I was actually taking the test to train myself to slow down and make sure I got it right.

Because ultimately what I found out was that a lot of my mistakes were coming from careless errors, rather than from not understanding percents. My advice is this to the SAT student, as you prepare yourself and as you go through lots and lots of practice tests try to track for yourself what kinds of problems you’re getting wrong. And maybe why or how you’re getting them wrong. And then what you need to do is identify the sort of one or two types of problems that you’re consistently getting wrong. And then tell yourself when you get to those problems, “I need to move fast because theirs lots of time pressure on the SAT. But when I get to this type of problem, I really need to slow myself down and make sure I get it right.” I think you’ll see that slowing down for one or two problems through out a test is not going to kill you. If you move quickly on all the others you’re going to have enough time to get through and that’s the way you maximize your score.

Karl Schellscheidt

Copyright 2006 — All Rights Reserved, ePrep, Inc.

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