Why Good Students Score Poorly on SAT Math – Part V

SAT Tip of the WeekToday we’ll finish up our 5-part series on SAT math tips for smart students who are struggling to keep their SAT math scores high. In Part I we learned that the result is rewarded, not the effort. Part II taught us that SAT math problems can be very tricky, Part III showed us why the SAT math section is unlike what you’ve seen before, and in Part IV we saw how perfectionism can hurt you on test day. Today, we’ll take a closer look into overconfidence.

5.      Lack of Preparation and Overconfidence

In part five of our five part series on why good students sometimes do poorly on the SAT, we’ll explore how good students who are overconfident can shoot themselves in the foot by believing that they don’t need to prepare for the test since they are already good students.

The last reason that good students don’t do well may not be that obvious but makes sense once you dive in.  High school teachers shower their star students with praise, good grades, awards and accolades.  This can often lead to overconfidence and thinking that they don’t need to prepare for the SAT because they’re such great students that they’ll likely get a good score anyway.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, the student we mentioned in part one of the article actually had some teachers tell her that she doesn’t need to do test prep for the SAT because her grades were so good.  She decided not to take their advice after taking a practice test and scoring in the 500’s on the math section.  Luckily, she chose to prepare specifically for the SAT and her math score went up over 100 points.  We can’t make this clearer:  For any standardized test, not just the SAT, you MUST prepare.  Not preparing for SAT Math because you’re a good student is like entering a golf tournament because you’re a good batter.  Both require swinging motions, but the technique and strategies for each game are vastly different.

While you don’t necessarily have to take an expensive test prep course—but if you do, we’re of coursed biased that you should take Veritas Prep SAT 2400 —you still have to practice and prepare specifically for the test and get used to the test’s questions, pacing and length.  Think of it like getting used to the rules of a new game.  You may not be a great player your first time around but with practice, you get better pretty quickly.  In the end, although some believe that the SAT is a measure of your achievement in high school, it’s really mostly just a test of how well you studied and prepared for the SAT!

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