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Test Prep – No Need to Show Steps

When it comes to standardized tests there is no such thing as partial credit. This comes as a stark contrast to the expectations most students have in the classroom when the opposite is almost always true. Most teachers will not give full credit for the answer alone. The want to see the steps or have the student show their work to demonstrate understanding of how to do the problem correctly. Computers grade the multiple choice and free response portions of standardized tests and while recent advances in artificial intelligence may make them more human, computers grade in a way where they simply check for right or wrong.

What does this mean for the student? Most students have seen all the math subject areas when taking standardized tests. However, what they are not prepared for is the fact that there is no reason to show steps along the way when answering. They are used to rewriting a problem, showing each incremental steps in solving the equation. This takes an adjustment for the student if they want to save time. They have to learn to write the result of each manipulation step to the equation rather than the incremental steps.

Nearly every strategy I teach for taking standardized tests comes down to reducing time. Even saving just a few seconds per problem can add up to an extra couple of minutes of time over the course of the exam to answer more questions and to answer more questions correctly. Sometimes the simplest time saving strategies are the most obvious ones. Most students tend to forget that only the final answer is being graded not the work that is done to get there.

Sign up for one of my SAT/ACT Prep Packages and learn helpful strategies. Just click on the Student Resources tab and select College Prep – SAT/ACT and choose the package that works best for you.

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