# Introduction to SAT II Physics

(Darren Dugan) #1

As we said in the previous chapter, the test questions get progressively harder as you go along.
Nonetheless, there will be some tough ones thrown in right at the start, and you’ll find giveaways
right up until the end. If you dwell too long on tough questions, you jeopardize your chances of
looking at every question and gaining points for the easy ones. Remember: you get as many points
for answering an easy question as a difficult one, and you get a lot more points for five quickly
answered easy questions than for one hard-earned victory.
Skip the unfamiliar.
If you encounter a question you can’t make heads or tails of, just skip it. Don’t sweat too hard
trying to sort out what’s going on. If you have time at the end, come back to it and see if you can
make an educated guess. Your first priority should be to get all the easy questions, and your
second priority should be to work through the questions you can solve with some difficulty.
Unfamiliar material should be at the bottom of your list of priorities.

#### General Hint 4: Set a Target Score

You can make the job of pacing yourself much easier if you go into the test knowing how many
questions you have to answer correctly in order to earn the score you want. So, what score do you
want? Obviously, you should strive for the best score possible, but also be realistic: consider how
much you know about physics and how well you do, generally, on SAT-type tests. You should also
do a little research and find out what counts as a good score for the colleges you’re applying to: is
it a 620? a 680? Talk to the admissions offices of the colleges you might want to attend, do a little
research in college guidebooks, or talk to your guidance counselor. Find out the average score of
students admitted to the schools of your choice, and set your target score above it (you want to be
above average, right?). Then take a look at the chart we showed you before. You can score:
800 if you answered 68 right, 7 wrong, and left 0 blank
750 if you answered 58 right, 12 wrong, and left 5 blank
700 if you answered 51 right, 13 wrong, and left 11 blank
650 if you answered 43 right, 16 wrong, and left 16 blank
600 if you answered 36 right, 19 wrong, and left 20 blank
Suppose the average score on SAT II Physics for the school you’re interested in is 650. Set your
target at about 700. To get that score, you need to get 51 questions right, which leaves you room to
get 13 wrong and leave 11 blank. In other words, you can leave a number of tough questions
blank, get a bunch more wrong, and still get the score you want. As long as you have some idea of
how many questions you need to answer—bearing in mind that you’ll likely get some questions
wrong—you can pace yourself accordingly. Taking practice tests is the best way to work on your
pacing.
If you find yourself effortlessly hitting your target score when you take the practice tests, don’t
just pat yourself on the back. Set a higher target score and start aiming for that one. The purpose of
buying this book and studying for the test is to improve your score as much as possible, so be sure