3 Reasons You Miss SAT Questions

Reasons You Miss SAT Questions

Why do you miss SAT questions? In other articles, we’ve given an overview of SAT scores and how to improve your score, but here we’ll get to the root of the problem—why do you miss SAT questions, anyway? We’ll boil it down to 3 reasons, then give tips on how to not miss those SAT questions on your next test.

Careless Mistakes

The most frustrating missed questions are the ones you absolutely know how to do, but still get wrong. It’s hard to eliminate these mistakes completely, but here are a few ideas.

  • Make sure to get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy breakfast before the quiz. Your brain is the engine powering you through the SAT, so we want it operating at peak capacity.
  • Use SAT-specific strategies. For example, using the process of elimination helps eliminate distractions (clearly wrong answers), so you can think more clearly and avoid careless mistakes.

Time Pressure

With unlimited time to complete the SAT, you’d likely figure out a lot of the questions that stumped you. The time pressure can also induce a sense of panic that keeps you from thinking clearly. To reduce the amount of questions you miss due to the ticking clock, try these tips:

  • Take free, official practice tests and time yourself in as realistic an environment as possible. The experience you’ll gain in pacing yourself will pay dividends when your test day arrives, and help you feel more comfortable and relaxed.
  • Drill until you hate the SAT. On this test, knowing how to solve the questions isn’t good enough—you have to know them well enough that you can remember how to solve them under pressure, and do it quickly enough to finish most of the questions before time runs out. Remember, the SAT is not a test of intelligence. It tests skills, and as you hone your SAT-specific skills you’ll be able to answer questions more quickly, and stop missing questions due to the time pressure.

Solving SAT Questions

Even if you avoid mistakes due to carelessness or time pressure, there’s another way to miss SAT questions: not knowing how to find the answer.

  • For SAT math problems, there is simply no substitute for knowing how to solve each type of math problem you encounter on the SAT. Math is a broad subject though, and pithy advice like “get better at math” isn’t going to help. Instead, you need to identify the specific problem types you don’t understand or struggle with, and then practice them until you master them (you can do it!). The best resource for both identifying and mastering these math problems is Khan Academy (it’s awesome and free).
  • In the reading section, you’ll want to master section-specific SAT strategies. Along with the process of elimination strategy, one word you’ll want to remember is evidence. Every question on the SAT reading section has an objective answer that is backed up by the text.
  • In writing, there are plenty of helpful strategies, but it’s also important to brush up on the grammar structures that the SAT likes to test, such as subject-verb agreement.

How to Not Miss SAT Questions

To get more questions right, you need to get fewer questions wrong (yes, our brilliance outshines seven suns). By looking at why you miss SAT questions, you can practice efficiently and effectively to improve your score. Remember, the SAT tests a very specific set of skills, and you can learn these skills and improve your score dramatically—it just takes a little guidance and lots of hard work!