Watch out for SAT overconfidence!

sat-overconfidenceFor many high school juniors and seniors going back to school isn’t just the start of a new year – it is also the start of the SAT journey. This fall, the SATs are scheduled for October 11, November 8, and December 6, and you can be sure that there will be plenty of students sorting through SAT test prep material and worrying about scoring well.

But it is also important to note the dangers of overconfidence!

Time and time again, research has show us that most students are overly optimistic when it comes to estimating their own performance. A 2006 report from the Brown Center on American Education discovered that students from countries with the highest confidence in math were some of the worst performers. The best performers were actually those that worried the most! And further similar studies have linked overconfidence to lower reading test scores as well.

The main point is that people have a tendency to overestimate their performance because they have the feeling that they know something, which turns out to be highly unreliable. Check out our post on how to study to remember to learn more about how our brains actually memorizes material.

One of the points stressed is the illusion of learning. Having seen or experienced something before can give the illusion that you know more than you really do. Repeated exposure to the same vocabulary words and math problems can lead to familiarity, but should not be mistaken for mastery.

So how can you avoid the illusion of confidence? Experts advise that if you should over learn the material you’re tested on by a factor of 20% beyond the point where you thought you mastered the material.

If you’re hesitate to study longer than you think you should just know over preparation leads to better scores and more reliable self assessment, which is the end goal in any studying.