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## 5 Big SAT Math Careless Errors

** Careless SAT math mistake #1: Answering the wrong question **

The Math section of the SAT is notorious for asking for “weird” information – instead of the value “X,” you might be asked for the value “3X.” The word problem can be written in terms of “hours,” but the question asks for an answer in “minutes.” This type of deception occurs in every field of mathematics, so be very careful about answering the question asked. It is very useful to underline or box the part of the question that contains the specific value you are asked to find, as a reminder to you to answer the question correctly.

** Careless SAT Math Mistake #2: Prime Number Confusion **

Many SAT prep students are surprised to learn that the number 1 is not a prime number. The reasons for this are confusing, even to me, so what you need to do is focus on remembering that 1 is NOT prime, and the lowest number is “2” (2 is also the ONLY prime number).

A good number of SAT math questions depend on knowing the first few numbers, so don’t make this careless mistake – remember that “2 is the smallest number!”

** Careless SAT Math Mistake #3: Not recognizing the special triangle **

SAT * you love * triangles. It’s also very slick about hiding the special right triangles in plain sight. If you’re working on a geometry problem and you see any angle that measures 30, 45, 60, or 90 degrees, start looking for a right triangle right away.

Remember from math class that special right triangles are 45-45-90 and 30-60-90. When you encounter one of the triangles, you can easily calculate the length of the side of the triangle using basic formulas. Make sure you brush up on your special right triangles to beat the SAT and avoid accidentally ignoring them.

** Careless SAT Math Mistake #4: Missing a bad mark **

I see this careless mistake all the time in my SAT tutorials, and it breaks my heart! You get an incredibly difficult word problem, solve it, do the math, find the answer.

It’s really easy to make this mistake, because you’re in a hurry and you’re probably not using the best math handwriting. However, you can’t give up easy points because you forgot the negative. It slows you down, and makes you more careful any time positive and negative numbers are involved.

** Careless SAT Math Mistake #5: Not checking your work **

This negligent error ties the other 4 together. If you have any time left after you have done all the problems you know how to do in a section, start looking at your work from the beginning, starting with the hardest or most complex problem and working backwards to the easiest problems. If there’s any math question you feel unsure about or think you’ve made a mistake, start there.

Most SAT prep students should NOT attempt to answer all the questions in the math sections, and instead should focus on answering only the questions they are able to do. That leaves a little extra time at the end of the section to check your work and check for any other careless mistakes.

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