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SAT Math Prediction Ability

  1. Sep 14, 2012 #1
    How do you guys think the SAT, manily the math section accurately judges ones ability? I have heard people say if you get below x, usually 600 to 700 you will never succeed in engineering or physics. I would think its more on how much you study and that the SAT is there more tovtrick you any take your money. What do you engineers and physicists think of it? Is it an accurate predictor of ones ability or not?

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2012 #2
    Well, the SAT math sections test your knowledge of and the ability to apply mathematical concepts which are typically taught in high school maths classes. Therefore, your mark indicates your knowledge of and your ability to apply what you have been taught in high school maths classes. It's a short-term indicator, meaning that if you work hard and learn all the concepts after the test, you will get more marks on the SAT math section if you then take the test.

    It's not an accurate predictor of intelligence, that's for sure. It's just an accurate predictor of how well you will do in college intro math classes if you don't work hard in the summer before freshman year and learn all the concepts by yourself.
  4. Sep 15, 2012 #3


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    Most people I know find the math part of the SAT very very very easy regardless of if they went into physics \ math or humanities etc. so I don't think it says much about your intelligence.
  5. Sep 15, 2012 #4
    I know! The reading sections test more difficult concepts than the math section on the sat.
  6. Sep 15, 2012 #5
    I always found the reading section to be easier, sometimes on the math part I didn't know what they were asking for and I would find the wrong thing. Now the writing section is hard.
  7. Sep 15, 2012 #6
    Was your high school academic background geared more towards english rather than math? Did you always find english easier than math?
  8. Sep 15, 2012 #7
    No, on the contrary english was my worst subject and hated it. I always loved to read since I was young and have read countless books which is probably why I find it easier. Our math department in HS is also no the greatest.
  9. Sep 15, 2012 #8
    Writing is not very hard once one knows how to study for it. Yes, this section can easily be studied for, much unlike the Critical Reading section.
    Try Silverturtle's guide - Google it. You may well see some progress.

    Yep. I agree with failexam as to what the math section tests. Note that then it tests applications, it does it in a way that is not similar to what one was used to high school. It shouldn't make things much harder though. Try taking a practice test for the math section at your own speed and from there, you'll be able to judge which of the concepts being tested you need to go over again.

    I won't get into whether the SAT is a good predictor of college success. However, a better score can only help. (unless one has hit the 2200-2300 mark...in which case, *I* would find retaking redundant)
  10. Sep 15, 2012 #9
    It's an alright predictor, but definitely not an excellent one. I would think that a significant gap (200+ points) would indicate a clear difference in needed attention and effort for first level math classes in college, but that's just because it's more of a general intelligence indicator. It's not an excellent general intelligence indicator, but an indicator nevertheless.
  11. Sep 15, 2012 #10
    One should also consider that the skills which the SAT tests are ones which one would find useful if not required, to succeed in college.

    Having said that, some sections, like the Writing section's multiple choice questions, are overly meticulous in that one would get away with a few misplaced commas or using the word "but" right after a semicolon when writing a college paper. (that sentence may well have some extra commas!)

    I can understand why any college admissions officer would expect any prospective social science or humanities major (for e.g) to score well in the critical reading section.

    I've seen people claim it's not a fair test. Would you agree to that? If so/not, then why?
  12. Sep 16, 2012 #11
    I scored poorly in the ACT's math section. I'm a junior in aerospace engineering. Standardized tests don't mean anything.
  13. Sep 16, 2012 #12
    Lol come on now we're on a physicsforum! Scientific method! Haha clearly the SATs didnt predict your strong mathematical ability, but that doesn't mean that therefore the conclusion is that SATs are totally useless.
  14. Sep 16, 2012 #13
    Or you're not good at answering lots of questions in a very limited time frame. Or you didn't learn much math in high school. Or the exam bored you. Or you have a short attention span and couldn't care any less. Or a combination of that. Or something else entirely!

    It's not that cut and dry. The other issue to consider is where the OP would like to go to college. Regardless, if one has a US residence permit, there's lots of places that could provide one with a great education at a reasonable cost (SUNY/CUNY, for instance), many of which probably won't be too fussy with scores, essays and other arbitrary things.
  15. Sep 16, 2012 #14
    I am a US citizen, so schooling will be in the US, as far as colleges I know I can get into them, it was just a question I had. I believe that any devices I have could be made up by studying more most likely,many the time constraint was an issue. I do good in regular math classes, like 90+.
  16. Sep 16, 2012 #15
    Double post.
  17. Sep 17, 2012 #16
    It's going to be tough, and SAT math does seem to correlate well with outcome in engineering classes.

    Sure, precisely because it is an indicator of how much you study. If you get a low score on the SAT, and you study more, and get a better score, that bodes well for how well you will do in college. If you slack off, that's a bad sign.
  18. Sep 17, 2012 #17
    OP, check this and this out.

    Experiment a little. The goal is to ace the SAT math AND to figure out what kind of studying strategies work best for you. Working in chunks works great for me.
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