One conversation I often have with students as we begin studying for the SAT Reading concerns the importance of trying to understand why your answer was wrong and why the correct answer was better. And after working with nearly 300 students an interesting pattern has emerged.  When it comes to the SAT Reading, the odds of a score increase (and the amount of the increase) are inversely correlated to the amount of time a student spends arguing why their answer was correct on practice sections.

Basically, the longer a student fights for their answer, the less likely they are to see significant score gains. On the other hand, students who are more likely to improve spend very little time arguing over wrong answers and instead try to get inside the test makers’ heads and understand how they tend to phrase correct answers to get more in tune with the test.  So as I have sometimes had to say to a student, do you want your score to go up or do you want to be right? Setting aside one’s ego and being open to learning what the test wants is a powerful attitude, and students who are able to perform this feat are usually rewarded.