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Ace the Pace ... Win the Race!

I am glad you are reading this blog post! Sure, the title was catchy, and it was actually intentional!

However, the real intention of this blog post is different. Today, I want to talk about SAT Math, and the elements involved to actually ace it. Let us start by saying that SAT Math is not THE hardest Math test in the world. There are many tougher tests (just Google IIT JEE exam in India for a 4 year undergraduate Engineering degree). However, there is one thing about SAT Math that makes it unique - it tests a combination of skills - both hard and soft. Among hard skills are your real core skills like the sound understanding of concept, application, right thinking and strategy and agile execution. These are hard skills because they come with practice. You cannot just hangout all year and wake up one fine Sat morning with a big yawn, go and appear for SAT Math and hope to ace it. Well, you may smile at a few questions you got. But when I say ace it, I am talking nothing less than 700+ That kind of score takes patience, practice and perseverance. Back to my point - those are hard skills - you learn and earn them the hard way. You review concepts, take lessons and do lots and lots of practice. Math is all about practice - not just knowing a concept. Without ample practice, even the most well understood concept can ebb off your brain! When you practice, the concept gets etched. Once it gets etched, you are all set for the test.

So, what did I mean by soft skills? Well, that is where your innate personality traits come to action. Are you a kind of person who can brave through the odds well or someone who begins to hyperventilate the moment he / she sees x, y, a, b and some numbers together? Are you someone who can manage time well and sustain focus or someone who can get easily distracted by the boy in the next lane who is constantly twiddling his thumb or tapping the pencil on the desk? There are many other traits similar to all these that can make or break your SAT day. Now, let us face it - everyone is different. However, all college aspiring kids have to go through SAT Math. And, SAT math scorers (College Board) have no way to distinguish personalities. They just go by the raw score the computer assesses for your SAT test.

Having said that, the trick is to be hard on your hard skills, make efforts to capitalize on your positive personality traits and work consciously to keep your negative traits at bay. At least do not let them dominate you on the test day. It is not easy though. If someone tends to become nervous, he or she will become nervous. So, how to counter it? The answer is simple - place yourself in that situation (mock situation - at home / school - wherever you want to practice) and tame the nervousness. Overpower it. Intensify your grit. Channelize your negative into your positive energy. Yes! bang your fist on the desk a couple times as a mock-strategy at home and stare at the watch menacingly - do not crush it, just push yourself harder to beat it.

That brings me to the title of my blog - "Ace the Pace". You got it! 5 students may all know that solving 2 linear equations simultaneously will provide you with the coordinates of intersection point. However, few will solve for that co-ordinate much faster. Some will solve it all right, and make a silly algebra manipulation error at the end. Others will say get x = 1 and mark x = -1 in the answer choice and even others will not even bother solving for Y and lose on the question some way. There will be just a few who will get to the answer quickly and accurately. Quickly - because they have practiced harder and their pencils can move quickly. Accurately, because their brain-eye-coordination can quickly verify if the intersection coordinate satisfies both the equations!

As you can see from above - it is a matter of practice and art to get to an answer and march to the next one. For those of us who think it is a race - race against time, race against thousand other students aiming for that great score - know very well that they need to "Ace the Pace". Do not just target to complete 30 questions. Target to complete it within the allotted time and accurately - I repeat, accurately. Pace is farce if you got most answers wrong. That is why when we say "Ace the pace" we mean pace coupled with accuracy. With the right pace, balanced mind, dexterous hands and focused eyes, that bright SAT score is not very far.

Happy learning and good luck for your Pace!

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