As I always tell me tutees, SAT math word problems require you to fully setup the problem before you can start answering. Many times, I see my tutees trying to plug numbers into an equation and getting an answer too quickly. Most times, the rush to answer the problem results in not understanding what is being asked. Word problems are tricky because they are subconsciously trying to funnel test takers into a wrong choice that seems so right at the beginning.
So I tell them to take a step back, be patient, and understand each piece of information. Writing down the information in a format they understand is critical. This way, students avoid reading something that was not there to begin with or actually start processing information that they should in a quicker manner.