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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

SAT Math Factoid: “Even” Does Not Mean “Positive”

Math  SAT  Videos
Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep videoThis might seem like common sense, but don’t underestimate your ability to confuse basic concepts such as “even” and “positive”. Join me in this prepcast as we discuss the potential SAT Math problems pitfalls and how best to avoid them. Click on the “Play Now” button below to get going.

SAT Math Factoid: “Even” Does Not Mean “Positive” (transcipt)

I would like to share some of my thoughts with you about the SAT’s and SAT preparation. This is in reference to the math section. An even number for example is: 2,4,6,8, 10 and a positive number is 1,2,3,4.

I think that if kids were asked the difference between an even number and a positive number, many could certainly give examples that would reveal that they know the difference. I am talking about this because when kids get to the SAT’s, inexplicably they often confuse even numbers with the positive. They are doing a problem that talks about consecutive even integers or consecutive positive integers and they confuse the two. When I wind up reviewing those wrong answers with students they say to me “I have no idea why I did that, I have no idea why I confused those two things. “I definitely know the difference between an even number and a positive number; I just wasn’t really thinking I can’t explain it.” What I tell kids in that situation is “I cannot tell you how many kids do that, don’t worry about it.”

But now that we know that you are capable of flipping those two things around, you need to be ultra aware of that. When you get to a problem that has either the word “positive” or “even”, slow yourself down and make sure you’re underlining, making a mark or doing something to remind you to get that one right.

There are plenty of other terms that kids get confused with, such as “radius” and “diameter.” Most kids clearly know the difference between the radius of a circle and the diameter of a circle. But you would be surprised how often they put in radius when they meant diameter or vice versa.

Two other confusing phrases are “circumference of a circle” and “the area of a circle.” A lot of kids end up using the wrong formula. When asked for circumference they use the area formula and vice versa. My point is not to list the different ways that some kids mess up, but rather I am trying to make you aware that it is human nature to confuse things sometimes. However, what you don’t want to do is confuse things when you are taking an SAT test. So when you are taking your SAT practice tests and find that you confused two words/phrases, highlight them and make a note for yourself. Then, next time you get to a problem that involves either concept, you can slow yourself down to make sure you get it right.

There is no excuse to miss a question over confusion. If you practice and realize that you are capable of making those kinds of mistakes, the best thing you can do is to remind yourself which types of concepts/words/phrases cause you confusion. Refresh you memory shortly before the test,and remember to slow yourself down for those problems. This will help you to maximize your score.

Karl Schellscheidt

Copyright 2006 — All Rights Reserved, ePrep, Inc.

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