I’m constantly reminding students to look for patterns. The key to transcendent scores is pattern recognition. If you want to be a truly adroit test taker, you’re going to have to devote yourself to taking every test you take actively. Obviously, you should be looking for patterns in the kinds of mistakes you’re making, but you should also be making mental (or hell, physical) notes of every question you see that strikes you as something new or novel.

Do you play Halo? Or COD? How about poker? Do you ever go outside and play baseball? When I was your age…

True domination in any of those games comes only after you have internalized the systems in which the game is played. If it’s a FPS, even if you’re good at FPS games in general, you’ve gotta spend time getting shot in the back right after you spawn until you’ve really learned the maps in a new game. You’ve gotta master the trajectories of projectiles that don’t go in a straight line (grenades, etc). You’ve gotta learn the timing of the sniper rifle. You have to learn the game’s physics, inside and out, and then you need to recognize the patterns of other players. Most guys run right for the rocket launcher when they spawn anywhere near it. How can you use that knowledge to your advantage? Once you’ve got all that down, you start teabagging. One time in COD4 some guy PREbagged me*. That guy knew every in and out of that game.

Good poker players do the same thing. Decent poker players know how to bet given the hand they have, because they know something about probability. Good poker players know what their opponents have based on how their opponents bet, if they’ve been playing together for a while. When a good poker player sits down at a new table, she spends time learning about her opponents. Who likes to bluff? Who plays fast, and who plays slow? What are these players’ tells?

And of course, there’s baseball. Professional baseball players don’t face a pitcher they’ve never seen before without reading a scouting report to try to learn what pitches they’re likely to see in which situations. Ever try to hit a curve ball before? That shit is hard. But you know what makes it a little easier? Knowing it’s coming. Pitchers do the same thing with batters. They know who not to pitch inside and low, etc.

A good vocab list based on prior tests is a nice start, but if you’re shooting for perfection you’re going to have to go further. And so it is with the rest of the test. This site is meant to help you to identify some of the more common patterns on the SAT, across all its sections, but you should really be looking to identify patterns for yourself too. When you make take possession of these observations, when you treat the entire SAT like a game of you vs. them, when you feel like you know what the SAT is going to throw your way before you even open the test booklet, you’re going to be in very good shape to knock it out of the park. And then teabag it.

*In COD4, you don’t see your body after you die; you see a kill cam replay of your death from your killer’s perspective. So this guy, who found me lying prone in what I thought was a pretty safe spot, teabagged me BEFORE he killed me, so I could see it happen in the kill cam. You have to respect that.

Comments (2)

Haha Mr. McClenethan, getting prebagged is pretty shameful, glad you would share such an experience on your Math blog. On the other hand, transitioning from COD to CSGO is even worse, as you’ll be spending every hour trying to learn the recoil patterns of all the weapons 🙂

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