It’s normal for students preparing for the SAT to have subjects or a particular part of a subject area that they aren’t especially strong in or fond of. Sometimes, though, a weakness might not be easily pinned down. A student might think they have a strong enough command of the material, or else have a vague understanding that they are missing something, but not be sure about how to connect the dots toward developing a proper understanding.
Learning to discover a subject weakness is the first step toward overcoming it in time for the SAT. While this is something that can be done on a student’s own time, it is also a learning process that is easily helped by attending classes dedicated to SAT prep.
Curious about how your child might be able to find and overcome their subject weaknesses? Here are some tried and tested tactics.
When mistakes are made, it’s normal to try to rationalize them by saying that it was just a moment of inattention, or a silly error in grammar, or some other small thing that was to blame. This might be true, but the mistake also might be indicative of some larger pattern. Maybe a student consistently makes the same kinds of minor errors in calculation, for instance, and might find themselves doing so on the day of the big test.
Instead of discounting mistakes, the best policy is to treat them all seriously. Each error should be reviewed, and then reflected on to see how it was likely made. Students should then make a conscious effort to avoid similar mistakes in the future, and also keep track of the kinds of errors they make going forward in their studies. It’s a good way identify any larger pattern in errors that should be paid special attention in the lead up to the SAT.
Once a student has discovered a pattern in the way that they make errors, they might be tempted to spend a great deal of their time working at correcting this issue. It’s important to note, though, that while it’s good to spend a little extra time working on problem areas, it’s also true that it’s easy to waste effort by drilling a particular problem area too much.
The brain learns much more effectively when different concepts are “interleaved,” meaning learned together over a longer period of time, as opposed to broken up into blocks and addressed individually. Generally speaking, the solution is for students in SAT prep programs to just exert a little extra self-control and avoid spending all their time on a single problem area.
Once a weakness has been identified, one of the best ways to overcome it is to take part in practice exercises. These might take the form of isolated examples or questions similar to what might be found on an SAT, or else through full practice exams.
Best results are likely to arise from completing these kinds of activities in special SAT classes run by experienced instructors. This can provide the valuable assistance that many students want and need in contextualizing their mistakes and turning them into usable lessons for academic growth. With this personal attention, young scholars can look forward to useful insight into areas in which they seem to have difficulty, as well as guidance in adopting test-taking strategies that can improve results over time.
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