How to Get 800 on SAT Math

Last Updated on December 20, 2022

If you’re planning to apply to colleges whose students typically have super high SAT scores, you may be hoping to score 800 on SAT Math. If so, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’m going to cover some key things you can do to get a perfect 800 SAT Math score.

How to Get 800 on SAT Math

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Let’s begin our discussion of how to get 800 on SAT Math by considering the performance required for getting 800.

The Performance Required for Getting 800 on SAT Math

As you might expect, in most cases, the performance required for getting 800 on SAT Math is to get all the Math questions correct. However, that’s not the whole story.

What makes the story not so simple is that the SAT is not only a standardized test but also a normed test. What this means is that the College Board, the maker of the SAT, adjusts the way the SAT is scored for each version of the test. This adjustment is done so that every version of the SAT provides comparable information about students’ skills. As a result, on different versions of the SAT, the same number of correct answers can result in different scores.

Thus, sometimes, if the Math section of your SAT has particularly hard questions, you can miss one question and score 800. Of course, you won’t be aware of how the SAT you’re taking will be scored. So, for practical purposes, it makes sense to go with the idea that, to score 800, you need to get every question in the Math section correct.

KEY FACT:

For practical purposes, it makes sense to go with the idea that, to score 800 on SAT Math, you need to get every question in the Math section correct.

OK, now that we know the performance required for scoring 800 on SAT Math, let’s talk about whether it’s hard to achieve that score.

Is It Hard to Get 800 on SAT Math?

If you’re hoping to get 800 on SAT Math, you’re likely wondering whether it’s hard to do so. The answer is yes and no. What I mean is that it certainly isn’t easy to score 800 on SAT Math, and at the same time, scoring 800 isn’t unthinkably difficult.

If you think about it, this answer isn’t particularly surprising since the Math section of the SAT doesn’t test anything that isn’t studied by high school students. So, most of what you need to do to score 800 is just to know much of high school math well. Admittedly, knowing much of high school math well isn’t super easy. At the same time, you can see why I’m saying that scoring 800 on SAT Math is not unthinkably difficult. After all, high school math is not unthinkably difficult.

It certainly isn’t easy to score 800 on SAT Math, and at the same time, scoring 800 isn’t unthinkably difficult.

Of course, scoring an 800 takes more than just knowing high school math well. You also have to handle the time limit of the SAT and answer dozens of questions without making an error. So, there are multiple challenges to getting a perfect SAT Math score.

Of course, there are things you can do to handle all of these challenges. So let’s discuss these things, starting with developing a winning mindset.

Develop a Winning Mindset to Score 800 on SAT Math

A key thing you can do to set yourself up to score 800 on SAT Math is to develop a mindset conducive to achieving that goal.

One way to develop such a mindset is to consider that, every year, thousands of people score 800 on SAT Math. So, you can take the attitude that, if other people can achieve that score, you can achieve it, too.

Another aspect of developing a mindset conducive to acing SAT Math is adopting a growth mindset. The concept of a growth mindset, which was developed by psychologist Carol Dweck, involves the idea that our most basic abilities, such as math skills, are not fixed but can be developed.

What this idea means is that, even if your math skills are currently not strong enough for getting a perfect score, you can develop stronger skills through preparation. In other words, you can develop your abilities. And the clearer you are about the fact that you can develop yourself, the more confident you’ll be, and the more energy you’ll have for your test prep.

TTP PRO TIP:

To set yourself up psychologically to ace SAT Math, adopt a growth mindset.

Of course, in order to achieve a perfect score on SAT Math, along with a winning mindset, you’ll need an effective approach to preparing. So, let’s now discuss the most effective approaches to preparing for SAT Math, starting with learning the SAT Math topics.

Make Sure You Know All SAT Math Topics Well

The foundation of achieving a perfect 800 SAT Math score is knowing all the SAT Math topics well. After all, if you don’t know all the topics, there is a good chance you won’t know how to answer all the math questions you see on the SAT.

Assuming you’re in high school now, you may know most SAT Math topics pretty well, since you’ve been studying them in your classes. However, you may be rusty in some topics, weak in some topics, or unfamiliar with some SAT Math topics that not every high school student studies, such as margin of error in statistics. To set yourself up to achieve a perfect Math score, you need to strengthen your skills in all such topics.

There are two main approaches you could use to make sure you know all SAT Math topics well. One is to cover every SAT Math topic. The second is to cover only topics you’re not currently strong in. Let’s discuss each of these approaches, starting with covering every SAT Math topic.

Study Approach #1: Cover Every SAT Math Topic

If your Math score on an SAT practice test was well below 700, or if for some other reason, you know that your math skills in general will have to be significantly stronger for you to get 800 on SAT Math, then the best preparation approach for you is probably to cover every SAT Math topic.

To do so, you could find a resource, such as the Target Test Prep SAT Course, that covers every SAT math topic and master one topic at a time. To master a topic, you would first review or learn the concepts and strategies involved in that topic. Then, you would answer SAT practice questions involving that topic until you were getting them correct consistently. Having mastered a topic, you would move on to the next topic and follow the same process. By mastering one topic at a time, you would eventually master all of SAT Math.

TTP PRO TIP:

If you know that your math skills in general will have to be significantly stronger for you to get 800 on SAT Math, then the best preparation approach for you is probably to cover every SAT Math topic.

However, it could make more sense to focus on your weaker topics. So, let’s discuss that approach now.

Study Approach #2: Focus on Weaker Topics

If you’re already strong in most SAT Math topics, preparing by covering every topic may not make sense. In that case, your move could be to determine which topics you’re not already strong in and focus on those.

One way to identify your strengths and weaknesses is to take an official SAT practice test. Your performance on that test will indicate what you need to work on. Any time you miss or have a hard time with a question on the practice test, you have a clue indicating that you need to develop stronger skill in answering questions of that type.

Another way to determine what you need to work on is to use a resource such as the Target Test Prep SAT Course, which covers all SAT Math topics. You can go through such a resource’s list of topics to see what is not familiar to you, or attempt to answer some practice questions on each topic and see how you do. Any topic you find unfamiliar or have difficulty with is a topic that you need to work on.

Once you have determined which topics to work on, you would master those topics one at a time as outlined in study approach #1.

TTP PRO TIP:

If you’re already strong in most SAT Math topics, your move could be to determine which topics you’re not strong in and focus on those.

Of course, just knowing all the topics tested is not sufficient for scoring 800 on SAT Math. You also have to be skilled in getting questions correct consistently. So, let’s discuss how to develop that skill.

Become Skilled in Achieving 100% Accuracy on SAT Math

As we’ve discussed, to get 800 on SAT Math, you’ll likely have to get all the Math questions correct. To do so, not only do you have to know how to solve the questions, but also you have to be skilled in answering questions without making careless mistakes. So, to score 800 on SAT Math, you may have to develop this second aspect of your skill set.

One way to develop this accuracy-related aspect of your skill set is to analyze your mistakes. So, let’s discuss that now.

Improve Your Accuracy by Analyzing Your Mistakes

Whenever you make a mistake in answering an SAT Math question, a couple of things could have caused the mistake. One possibility is that you didn’t know a concept or a strategy needed for answering the question. Another is that you knew how to answer the question but made an error in execution.

So, whenever you miss a question, it’s key to determine why, so that you know how to address the cause. If you missed a question because of a knowledge gap, then your move is to go back and review the relevant concepts or strategies, so that you know them the next time you see such a question.

On the other hand, if you missed a question because you made an error in execution, then your move is to identify the type of mistake you made and work on not making that mistake again.

There are a couple of ways to stop making the same mistakes. One is to do practice questions similar to one you made the mistake on. By completing similar questions, you can practice answering that question type without making the mistake that previously tripped you up.

Another is to become aware of the types of mistakes you make and learn to catch yourself before you make them. For example, you may find that you tend to get excited toward the end of answering a question and make a calculation error. If so, when you’re getting toward the end of answering a question, be aware of that tendency and be extra careful.

TTP PRO TIP:

One way to improve your SAT Math accuracy is to analyze your mistakes and address the causes.

Another way to improve accuracy is to use a practice method known as the TTP Streaks Method. Let’s discuss that now.

Improve Your Accuracy by Using the TTP Streaks Method

The TTP Streaks Method of practicing SAT Math involves answering practice questions untimed and getting them correct in long streaks. You can start off shooting for streaks of 10 questions correct in a row. Then, shoot for 15, and then 20 correct in a row. Keep going until you get practice questions correct in streaks of as many questions as appear in the SAT Math sections.

The logic of this approach is that, if you can get as many questions as appear on the SAT correct in a row, then you have the skills you need to answer all the Math questions on the SAT without making any careless mistakes.

Then, once you’re good at getting questions correct in long streaks untimed, work on reducing the time per question to test pace while maintaining the same level of accuracy.

TTP PRO TIP:

To learn to get SAT Math questions correct consistently, practice untimed and shoot for long streaks of correct answers.

Once you know all the SAT Math topics well and get questions correct consistently, you need one more thing for scoring an 800. You need speed. After all, the SAT is a timed test. So, let’s now talk about developing speed.

Develop Speed in SAT Math

It may be that, having covered all SAT Math topics and answered many practice questions, you’ll be answering SAT Math questions fast enough to complete the sections and score 800. However, it could be that you need to get faster to achieve your score goal. If so, you can do the following to do SAT Math faster.

  • Learn an effective strategy for each type of SAT Math question.
  • Practice finding the most efficient way to answer each SAT Math question.
  • Learn when using the calculator is faster and when not using the calculator is faster.
  • Learn to use time-saving calculator functions such as the Polynomial Root Finder and the Simultaneous Equation Solver.
  • Practice all the times tables up to 20.
  • Learn to quickly calculate percentages of numbers in your head by dividing a number by 10 to get 10 percent of that number, and then using 10 percent to get to other percentages of that number.
  • Practice working carefully to answer SAT Math questions right the first time.

TTP PRO TIP:

To get faster at SAT Math, learn an effective strategy for each type of question and take specific steps to increase your speed.

Having covered the main aspects of the SAT Math skill set that you need to score 800, let’s talk about putting your skills to the test by taking SAT practice tests.

Take SAT Practice Tests

A key part of achieving a perfect 800 SAT Math score is taking SAT practice tests. By taking a practice test, you accomplish multiple things. You gain experience answering SAT questions under test conditions, see how high you’re ready to score, and get clues about what you need to work on to achieve your score goal.

When you take a practice test, you’re giving yourself an opportunity to play the SAT game. So, make practice tests as realistic as possible by not giving yourself extra time or extra breaks.

Then, after you complete the test, analyze your results and what went on with any questions you missed. For any question you missed, note the type of question and the reason you chose the wrong answer, such as lack of concept knowledge or your answering a question different from the one asked.

Then address what you’ve found by reviewing concepts or answering practice questions to make sure that you won’t experience the same issue again. Here’s the thing: There are patterns to SAT Math questions. So, by addressing the issues that caused you to miss practice test questions, you’re setting yourself up to get correct answers on the real SAT.

If you run out of practice tests, you can retake the same ones. Make it your goal to be able to efficiently and correctly answer all the questions that appear on the available official SAT practice tests.

TTP PRO TIP:

Take SAT practice tests to gain experience answering SAT questions under test conditions, see how high you‘re ready to score, and get clues about what you need to work on to achieve your score goal.

Let’s now talk about one more thing necessary for acing SAT Math: taking care of your health and wellness.

Take Care of Your Health and Wellness

Your health and wellness are major factors affecting how you perform in any activity, including taking the SAT. So, along with effective preparation, getting a perfect SAT Math score requires taking care of your health and wellness.

As you prepare for the SAT, be conscious of taking care of yourself in general by doing things such as consuming only healthy foods and beverages, exercising, and getting sufficient sleep. Also, take care of your emotional health. Many times, I’ve seen people have trouble achieving their score goals because of something they had going on emotionally. In particular, issues related to anger or anxiety can make performing at your best difficult.

TTP PRO TIP:

To perform at your best when preparing for and taking the SAT, take care of your health and wellness.

Now, let’s review what we’ve discussed.

Summary: How to Get an 800 on SAT Math

In preparing to earn an 800 on SAT Math, remember the following:

  • Generally, you have to get all the Math questions on the SAT correct to score 800, though sometimes you can score 800 by getting all but one correct.
  • It’s not easy to score 800 on SAT Math, but it’s not unthinkably difficult to do so either.
  • A key aspect of scoring 800 on SAT Math is developing a winning mindset.
  • To score 800, make sure you know all the SAT Math topics well.
  • Developing skill in answering questions without making careless mistakes is necessary for acing SAT Math.
  • You may have to work on your speed to get a perfect score on SAT Math.
  • Taking care of your health and wellness is important for maximizing your performance on the SAT.

What’s Next?

By using the approaches we’ve discussed, you can score a perfect 800, or close to it, on SAT Math. To gain more insights into how to best prepare for the SAT, check out these posts on how to start studying for the SAT and how to improve your SAT score.

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