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Post by Jean Haskins

When preparing for your PSAT/SAT, you end up answering lots of practice PSAT/SAT questions. You’ll be answering questions in class, answering questions in SARA, answering questions for homework, and answering questions on practice tests. But what are you doing with those questions after you answer them?


Most students are going to check their work to see which questions they missed; but what are they doing with those questions afterwards? You should constantly be analyzing your performance with each question you missed (and some of the questions you didn’t). Look at the questions you got wrong, and ask yourself: did you make a simple mistake, did you misunderstand the concept being tested, or did you lack a strategy for that question? Did you get any right answers by guessing? You should review those questions as well.


Active review of material is not generally something that teachers ever have time for in the classroom, nor do many teachers even assign review as homework. However, by not spending time on review, students are missing out on an opportunity to personalize and dive deep into their test prep experience. Supplementing your lessons and practice material with improved and targeted review is the single most efficient thing you can do to improve your PSAT/SAT scores.


Students make mistakes when they work too quickly, or if they are careless, or sometimes when they try and do too much in their head. If you are making simple mistakes on concepts you have already mastered because you are working too fast, then slow down. Would you rather get the wrong answer quickly, or the right answer slowly? Think with your pencil; take clear enough notes to document your thought process, so that when you review you can see what you were thinking for each question.


As you prepare, you will be practicing new skills alongside old ones, and building fluency in various math concepts. Finding a wrong answer in a concept you are still learning is an opportunity for you to take note of concepts you need more practice with before you can claim mastery.


These questions are really great for highlighting concepts you need to review in-depth! It’s very difficult to choose to spend time on material you do not know well. Most students would rather spend time practicing material they are more familiar with; avoid that temptation! Instead, lean into the discomfort and look for more questions that remind you of the question you missed, so that you can turn your weaknesses into strengths. If you have any questions you’re totally lost on, reach out to us for help by listing them in the comments section below!