Studying your Way to (Nigh) Perfect Scores
The fact that the SATs are standardized also reveals their greatest weakness - they can only test so much. Think about it this way: all editions of the test must be comparable. If you can consistently do well on your practice tests, your final score won’t be remarkably different.
Of course, the above strategy works best only if you practice with materials that closely resemble the actual test. Unfortunately, College Board doesn’t offer an infinite number of practice tests for you.
This is my general strategy:
Use any of the prep books to gain a foundational understanding of the concepts and format of the test. For example, unlike in 8-4-4 Chemistry where we did energy levels, you’ll notice that US schools learnt electronic configurations using s-p-d-f orbitals.
Do a lot of practice tests. Since there are a finite number of practice tests, you’re better off starting with non-official tests. As the test date approaches, switch to the official tests so that you’re more conversant with the wording used by College Board.
Learning from the practice tests is very beneficial. Make sure that if you redid a certain test, you’d get +90%. Do not repeat your mistakes. Because the testable material is limited, the number of ways you can mess up is also limited.
I used to write down each question I got wrong with an explanation of the correct answer.
Whenever I was revising for my SATs, I’d review my previous mistakes to make sure that I avoid them in the subsequent practice tests.
Here’s a snippet from my note book back when I was studying for Math IIC. Whenever I encountered a question for which I didn’t know the answer, I’d write it down once I was done with the practice test. To revise, I’d cover up the answer, and try to work it out myself.
Initially, you’ll be noting down a lot of questions per practice test, but as you keep learning from previous mistakes, you’ll have progressively fewer weak points.
I can’t stress this enough: learn the basics, do lots of practice tests while also learning from the practice tests. I did +80 SAT practice tests. Best wishes!