Tips & Advice
questions are arranged in ascending order of difficulty. With practice, you will
learn your personal abilities and limitations with math questions. However,
when you take the test, you should probably not
spend too much time on the first questions, as these are the easiest and you probably answered them easily.
If you have trouble answering
an early question, go back and re-read it. Chances are you simply misinterpreted what was being
Try not to skip any of these
initial questions. You may not have time at the end to come back to finish them,
and leaving them blank may lower your score. At a minimum,
you should be able to at least eliminate a few answer
choices through our dear old friend, process of elimination.
Mark what you are
trying to answer
This is helpful advice for all sections of the SAT, but
especially so for the math
questions. You are allowed to write in your test booklet, so don't be afraid to
mark it up -- particularly by marking what it is that you need to answer. The test writers will
intentionally include incorrect answer choices that provide the right answers to the wrong
questions, including other values referred to in the question.
On a related note, be on the lookout for such key question words as not
and except. Be on the lookout, too, for changes in units of
measurement. We'll show you some practice
questions that utilize these techniques just in case you do not see what we
problems wherever possible
Process of elimination is your best friend in answering SAT
math questions. Simplification comes next. The SAT1 is not designed to make you do unnecessarily long calculations.
If you find yourself tangled in a string of numbers, chances are that you have
overlooked a way of simplifying the equation. On this note, all SAT
questions are meticulously designed. If you are given a piece of data such as 1
mile = 5,280 feet, there is a reason it
was given, and it is most likely related to a perhaps
not-so-readily-apparent way to simplify the problem.
Work backwards if you can't work forward
forward is the most effective and efficient way of solving a math problem when you instantly recognize the proper
formula and method needed to answer it.
(In that case, the best way to manage your time is to solve the problem, choose
the corresponding answer choice, and move on to the next question.)
backwards, however, is an effective tool when you have forgotten how to
answer the question. Working backwards
means plugging a value from one of the answer choices into the appropriate
formula and seeing if it works. We recommend you always start with choice C, which will be the
median value of the answer choices. If choice C yields an answer that is too
large, then you will instantly know the answer must be A or B. Conversely, if
choice C yields an answer that is too small, then you will know the answer must
be choice D or E.
SAT practice time to practice this skill. You should soon be comfortable working
backwards no more than 2 times per question, i.e. if choice C is too small and
choice D is also too small, then you will know the answer must be choice E. This approach will help you
manage your test time more efficiently and help you
achieve the highest possible score on the SAT.
numbers when you need to plug in a value
questions, you will have to do the "leg work" yourself. Therefore, use
easy small numbers. For percent questions, we suggest you use 100.
is useful when the answer choices are widely disparate
Should you encounter answer choices that are widely disparate, try
approximation. For example, let's say you can closely guesstimate the answer to
be 30%, and the answer choices are 4%, 13%, 29%, 47%, and 81%. In that case you will know the correct
answer must be 29%.
diagrams when they are not provided and they would be helpful
students find this a useful technique. Just keep the drawings simple and don't
fret over just how accurate they are. You will not receive any
bonus points for drawing the best right angle triangle inside your test booklet!
calm and rational
If you see
a question (it would most likely be a word question) that you have no idea how
to solve, examine the answer choices for help. This frequently happens with
"time" questions. Here is an example:
finish a book report in 3 hours and Linda can complete the same book report in 2
hours. How long would it take both of them to complete a book report if they
look very intimidating at first glance. However, logic tells us that since Linda
can do this report herself in 2 hours, there is no way it should take both of
them working together more than this amount of time. (No assumptions about
goofing off are required for the SAT.)
answer, if you are curious is 1 hour and 12 minutes.
go from here:
problem solving practice questions