The Math SAT is an aggressively timed exam which hinges upon numeric, algebraic, and geometric foundations. The de facto approach taken by many SAT books, courses, and tutors centers around doing sample SAT tests. But, how effective can this be for average Math students? Yes, when I privately tutor high performing students, we plow through sample SAT exams together. But, doing practice tests is productive when the student’s math foundations are already strong. The student isn’t reviewing concepts at this stage, but rather, is practicing & optimizing.
Effective preparation for the SAT should be a two stage approach. You should first back-fill core foundations before jumping into randomized SAT problems (which students may not yet be sufficiently prepared to tackle). Cart before the horse. For an average Math student, systematic review “by topic” will prepare him for tackling the practice tests. If you do 10 problems of a specific concept in a row, the concept is much more likely to “stick”. In contrast, prematurely doing practice tests can result in the following unproductive cycle: try a problem, get it wrong, move to an entirely different problem.
If you buy into my rationale, the key is to find an SAT book that clusters the practice problems “by topic”. If you need a suggestion, contact me, and I’ll tell you what I use with my students.