Every question – from the most basic arithmetic to the most advanced quadratic function, from the simplest grammar fix to the most challenging inference question on the most complicated reading passage – is worth the same.
Some questions are straightforward, and might take 10 seconds to solve, and some are very difficult, and could take more than five minutes – but every question is worth one raw point.
[What is a raw point?]
The most important thing you can do to collect raw points and maximize your score is first to focus your time and energy on answering the questions that are easiest and quickest for you, and then try to tackle the more difficult and time-consuming questions – if you have time.
A Difficulty Level Overview
The Math Test
It’s pretty easy to figure out the difficulty level of questions on the Math Test – sections here generally increase in difficulty as they go on. The first few questions are the easiest, and the last few are the hardest.
TOP TIP: Know where the easier questions live and do them first! Both math sections on the Math Test begin with multiple choice questions (MCs), and then move on to a handful of student-produced response questions (these are sometimes called Grid-Ins). The first few Grid-Ins are always easier than the last few multiple choice, so don’t spend too much time on those hard MCs before you give the first few Grid-Ins a try.
The Reading Test
The passages on the Reading Test are of differing levels of complexity. Within each passage, the questions are asked as they emerge logically in the order the relevant information is presented in the passage. This means that the difficulty is a mixed bag.
It’s ok to skip the questions that are hardest for you! The last thing you want to do is get hung up on a hard question in one of the first passages and run out of time. There are easier questions throughout the test – even in the last passage! By skipping hard ones as you go, you can help ensure that you will have time to give the last passages a good look – they might be easier for you! For more on this, check out the article on The Two Passes Strategy
WARNING LABEL: If you don’t have trouble completing all the questions in the time allowed, then try to complete all of the questions in each passage before moving to the next passage – these strategies are meant for students who sometimes feel crunched for time!
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