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The Most Important Math Subscore

The newly redesigned SAT rolls out in March 2016. With it comes a whole new scoring system and various levels of scoring.  For example, instead of just one math score, a student will also get several math subscores that indicate how the student performed in certain content areas like algebra or data analysis. While these subscores could prove very valuable, there is a simpler math subscore that is more important: total content errors vs total careless errors.  You see, when I work with a student in math, we complete a math section and then analyze it. In our analysis, we categorize incorrect answers into two groups: content errors or careless errors. Content errors are those errors a student would make because he or she has not seen the content yet. A trigonometry problem on the ACT, for example, might be a difficult problem for someone not yet exposed to trigonometry. Charting out content errors shows the student what content they need to learn to tackle this type of question in the future. Careless errors represent those errors made when a student misreads the question, miscalculates something, fills in a bubble incorrectly or otherwise commits some error that was totally controllable if not for carelessness. Careless errors are the best kind of errors because these can easily be fixed!  In my experiences, careless errors make up about 80% of all errors while content errors are only 20% of total errors. These figures are based on my anecdotal experiences but the 80/20 grouping seems to hold true of most of my students. The solution? Ignore the various levels of subscores you might receive on a future test and instead drill down into the most important subscore: how many of your incorrect errors are due to carelessness and how many are due to unfamiliar content?  Content errors just take a bit of learning. Careless errors are easily fixed.  Avoid careless errors by recognizing them. Learn from your mistakes so you don’t misread questions, fall into avoidable traps or miscalculate something.  Learn more study tips for ACT, SAT and all academic subjects by contacting CROSSWALK today. 

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