If you’re studying for the SAT and you find that you’re not making as much progress as you’d like, you might be going too fast.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. That’s not right. It’s a timed test. That’s part of what makes the SAT hard. When test day comes, there’s a time limit. There’s no getting around it.
Think about this, though.
When you rush, you make mistakes that you wouldn’t otherwise make. You get more problems wrong, so you get a lower score. That ruins your confidence, which makes you nervous. And what happens when you’re nervous? You rush.
It’s vicious circle.
It gets worse, though, because when you’re in that trap, it keeps you from knowing the difference between what you’re getting wrong because you don’t know it, and what you’re getting wrong because you’re rushing your work.
Then you don’t know what to focus on or how to fix it.
Now that’s frustrating.
And where does frustration lead? You got it. It’s what they call a negative feedback loop.
So here’s how you break out of it. Practice un-timed until you’re consistently getting almost all the questions that you know how to do right.
You’re still going to use a clock or a timer of some kind. But you’re not going to worry about how long it’s taking you. However long it is it’s OK for now.
Just keep track of how long it took, and note where you were in the section when the alloted time elapsed. You might even be surprised that without the pressure of a time limit, you finish sooner than you think.
You’ll learn several important things this way.
1) You’ll learn what you really don’t know and what kinds of problems give you trouble. Then you can focus your efforts at improving in those areas.
2) You’ll learn what you really do know, which will give you confidence.
3) You’ll see just how much extra time you’re taking (if any), and you’ll know just how much you have to speed up. That’s easier than you think… as long as you aren’t rushing.