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SAT Quantitative Comparisons Tips

*Time Management*

Back in the day when we were gainfully employed, we found that most students grasp the quantitative comparisons problems more quickly than the problem solving questions. If you find this is also the case for you, then you will have extra time in one of the two 30 minute quantitative sections for the problem solving questions.

Look for information included above the box

Think how this information can influence the answer selections. Do not “carry” information from one question to the next. This may be easier said than done, but this does end up hurting a lot of students. With practice, you should be better able to avoid this fallacy.

Assumptions

Always assume the variables can be positive, negative, or small fractions.

Avoid lengthy calculations

If you find yourself involved in a complicated calculation, you probably overlooked the information included above the box or you missed an opportunity to factor.

Treat each box one at a time and treat both of them the same way

This is most helpful when the same variable or exponential factor appears in both columns. If this happens, eliminate it and just examine what is left.

Expect very few computations with geometric figures

These problems are questioning your knowledge of basic geometric concepts and should involve very little math.

Don’t rely on the visual drawing of the geometric figures

Unless the question states that the angle is a right angle, don’t assume it. It could be 89.9° so don’t make this all-too-common mistake.

It may sound corny but it can work …

If you are working with a question towards the end of the section (one that is more difficult) you may want to redraw the diagram to more greatly exaggerate the characteristics raised in the question. If this makes one column’s value clearly greater than the other, it is probably worth the guess. Give this a try with your practice exams first as we assume no liability with this tip.

Do not choose answer choice D for a question with no variables or figures

This means that, on average, you won’t be penalized for guessing on these problems.

Where to go from here:

SAT quantitative comparisons “home page”

SAT quantitative comparisons test instructions

SAT quantitative comparisons practice questions