Got any advice to help with the math section of the SAT?

Jolyn Brand**Owner/Director**Brand College Consulting

The Math section on the SAT covers Algebra, Geometry and many other topics that students have not seen in more than a year in school. Students MUST review for this section. They need to read the directions, review the formulas and practice the questions.

Nina Berler**Founder**unCommon Apps

Yes: the best way to do well in math is to take as many practice questions as possible with original College Board or ACT materials. Students learn to recognize the pet areas of the test makers (e.g., functions and certain geometric shapes). There so often is more than one way to come to the correct answer, and students who prep well know that way before taking the actual test. If the student has his or her actual PSAT or earlier SAT book or report, he can identify which types of questions tend to be troublesome and seek help on how to tackle those questions when the time comes. I always recommend to students to practice for quality over time and, on the actual test, check work carefully if time allows. Sometimes the brightest math students make the silliest errors by doing work in their heads or misreading the questions.

王文君 June Scortino**President**IVY Counselors Network

other than a lot of practice exams, you should consider to work with a experienced tutor one on one to improve test score within a short period of time.

Megan Dorsey**SAT Prep & College Advisor**College Prep LLC

In the SAT prep programs I’ve developed, I always advise: 1. Brush up on basic Algebra and Geometry skills. 2. Know that SAT math sections begin with easier questions, and they become progressively harder. 3. Unless you want to earn a score of 650+ in math, you can leave the last 10-20% of the questions blank. These are the hardest, most time-consuming problems. 4. Writing problems out will help you avoid careless errors. Don’t try to solve everything in your head! 5. Remember that harder questions may not require higher-level math concepts, but often these questions involve multiple steps and the ability to avoid calculation errors.

Annie Reznik**Counselor/CEO**College Guidance Coach

Check out the College Board’s Skills Insight tool. You can examine the skill areas necessary to earn scores in your desired range. Once you assess your areas of improvement, spend time reviewing the concepts and attempting practice questions for that skill area. http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-skills-insight

Alan Sheptin**Owner**Sheptin Tutoring Group, LLC

This is my specialty! I tell students to do a progressive training on the Math: 1. Get the College Board SAT book, so that you have 10 tests to complete. On Collegeboard.com, there is another test that you can do. So you have 11 tests in all. 2. Do the first test completely untimed. Just get the experience of taking the test, and grade it. For each additional test, continue to take time away. So, do the second test with 60 percent more time, the third test with 40 percent more time, the 4th with 20 percent more time, and the 5th and later at full time. 3. Note trends in how you do: do you consistently answer the hardest questions wrong? If so, you may want to purchase a book such as SAT 2400, that focuses on the hardest questions on the test. Or, get some one on one help for those questions. 4. Learn some of the tricks of the test: picking numbers, backsolving, visualization. Of course, I would be happy to help you. Look at my profile on what I can do to work with you. Alan Sheptin

Richard Napora**College Consultant**Clarus

Check out www.khanacademy.org because there are worked examples of the math section questions.

Wendy Smith

You won’t need an advanced calculator. One of the nice (or not so nice, depending on how you look at it) things about the SAT math section is that you have to rely on your own abilities in order to do well. In other words, not even the biggest, baddest calculator in the world will save you if you don’t know your stuff. The content on the SAT is relatively simple (nothing beyond algebra and geometry) and you could very well tackle the test without a calculator. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to have a simple one (a stripped-down four-function one is fine) to check your basic calculations. After all, a simple arithmetic error could cost you the right answer!

Dawn Smith

The numbers themselves will be easy to deal with and there won’t be any super-hard calculations. You’re more likely to be asked to add 3 + 4 than to multiply 3.657 x 47.5968 or something ridiculous like that. What makes the SAT math section challenging is the way in which you are asked to synthesize information in unique ways. The hardest SAT math questions require you to draw upon knowledge from several areas at once. For example, you might be asked about special right triangles and circumference in the same problem.

Robin Smith

There’s no shame in writing out your work! You’re allowed to write in your test booklet, so you might as well use it. Trying to do everything in your head is the surest way to make a silly mistake. It’s especially dangerous since there’s no partial credit on the SAT. It’s always better to take a moment and do the work by hand, so you know you’ll get the right numbers. Writing out your work is also a great thing to do if you get stuck on a problem. Write down all the information given to you in the question and see if you might have missed something along the way.

Jenn Cohen**Owner**Jenn Cohen Tutoring

Practice, practice, and more practice. It’s absolutely essential to get in as many practice questions as possible before test day. The SAT tests the same topics repeatedly, so the more questions you see, the more likely you’ll have “seen it all” when you get to the real thing! There are some very good math specific prep guides out there. I happen to like Phil Keller’s SAT Math Game Plan. It’s good for both strategy and concept review. Consider working with a tutor as well. And “tutor” may mean your friend’s math genius brother. Getting a little extra help with a question that stumps you can be worth points on test day.

Helen Cella

Practice

Jessica Brondo**Founder and CEO**The Edge in College Prep

1. Time management is important: remember that easy questions are worth just as much as hard ones and the more questions you answer correctly, the better your score will be. 2. Use Whatcha Got: if you can’t correctly solve the problem, look at the answers and try to insert them into the problem. While this may not always give you an answer it helps to eliminate wrong answer choices. 3. Know when to use your calculator: very few of the SAT math problems truly require a calculator so don’t get caught up trying to solve every question with it.

Brian D. Crisp**Founder and President**Crisp Consulting + Coaching; Burton College Tours

Nothing strikes fear into a human being more than rabid vampires and math. In fact, after typing that sentence I am sure my 9th-grade algebra teacher was a vampire. Blood-letting aside, the SAT polynomials are as harmless as the Twilight vampires. There will be three math components of the SAT. Two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section covering math operations covered through the 9th-grade math curriculum: algebra, data analysis, geometry, numbers and operations, probability, and statistics. As with all questions on the SAT, the first questions will be the most simple and grow in complexity. The fangs of math will quickly retract with a favorite strategy of Crisp Consulting + Coaching: Words Count. Knowing how the grammar of word problems implies a function will help you save time and find the best-fitting answer: of = multiply exceeds by =subtract/add greater than = subtract/add more/of = percentage Knowing the function will assist you in eliminating answers and improving your math score.

Nicholas Umphrey

The SAT Math section covers through mostly Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry. There is some statistics involved as well. I am a big fan of the SAT question of the day which can be e-mailed to you daily: http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-question-of-the-day There is also the SAT practice test options you have on the college board website. Practice makes perfect, especially in testing. It is most helpful to review and prepare to develop an understanding of the test itself, how it works, and what questions are asking for.

Corey Fischer**President**CollegeClarity

The biggest mistakes I see students make is not brushing up. This is especially important for students who are in advanced math–they think the math section will be easy, but they find they have forgotten much of the geometry because it has been a long time since they had it. In addition, they are often rusty on their basic algebra skills. Just working through an SAT prep book for a few weeks ahead of time will get it fresh in their minds.

Benjamin Caldarelli**Partner**Princeton College Consulting, LLC

A private tutor will provide the most targeted, personalized and efficient help. Students need to not only be able to do the math, but do it quickly. Know the test, know the tricks.

Bill Pruden**Head of Upper School, College Counselor**Ravenscroft School

In contrast to critical reading and to a lesser extent the writing (where the distinctive individual passage can make a difference) the math section of the SAT reflects to a large degree your mastery of the material central to a high school math curriculum, and so your course work should have provided a substantive foundation for the test. Too, effective use of the item analysis available with the PSAT results can also be very helpful. Understand what you missed and address it—whether by reviewing things you already learned or by undertaking some focused test prep work. Also, be sure that when you take the test that you go through the whole section, doing right away the things you can. You don’t want to get bogged down only to have it eat up time that could have been used elsewhere. Once you have gone over it all you can go back in the remaining time to the things that you could not get to on the initial run through.

Carita Del Valle**Founder**Academic Decisions

Absolutely! First and foremost you must practice daily. If you do not know how to do a particular concept, use the internet or your public libraries free tutoring service for a visual aid. And of course do not overlook your high school teachers. If you can go in with a specific question and not just “I don’t get it” they are often more than willing to give you a quick lesson with additional problems for review.

Dawn Ducharme

Learn how to use your calculator when appropriate and know your basic facts. Answer questions you can do easily first. Do not go in order! There are very easy questions at the end of the sections that many don’t get to because they obsess over more difficult questions. Substitute answers into problems to make sure you are correct and didn’t make a common mistake.

Pamela Hampton-Garland**Owner**Scholar Bound

The math section of the SAT can be the easiest section if you are a yes/no type of analytical person. Remember in math there is but one answer; unlike the subjectivity in critical reading or other liberal areas. To succeed in math study concepts; not necessarily problems. You must be very comfortable with math up to Algebra 2 and Geometry. Remember if you know the formulas and the rules that drive math you will succeed, they never change. The Quadratic Equation will always be the same, finding Area and distance will not change, the FOIL method will always work…..that is how you make math fun and understandable know the rules, and when to apply them and you cannot lose.

Michael Puccio**President/Advisor/Life Coach**Future First Advisors, LLC

There are a few things that you can do: 1) Talk with your math teacher about what they believe you might want to brush up on. You may want to ask them to assign you some extra “homework” that he or she can look over for you. 2) The SAT prep books are a good way to learn some of the “tricks”. They also offer various practice problems. 3) Hire a tutor. Working one-on-one with someone is incredibly beneficial. Some points to remember: 1) When you sit for the test, if you are 100% sure that you don’t know an answer, don’t guess! Don’t forget that you lose points for answering incorrectly. Skipping the answer will not harm your score. 2) Finish the section and go back to those questions that you weren’t so sure about. If you have the extra time, why not try to wrestle with the problem a little. You might come up with the correct answer! Best of luck!

Ronald Harris

Then the best advice I can give is review the concepts for a couple minutes each day leading up to the test. Prep courses also help. Make sure you study Algebra, Geometry, and Arithmetic, relax, and do your best.

Andrew Hill

The SAT Program that makes the test also publishes guides to the tests. Official Guides to prep you. Buy them. Study them. They are excellent. The SAT question of the day is another great option to slowly study for the SAT. With this said, there are other products from the collegeboard and third parties. While the third parties aren’t making the test some students find these useful. Although the collegeboard’s view is that it is unnecessary.

Reecy Aresty**College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author**Payless For College, Inc.

Get a tutor! You can also review practice math exams.

Zahir Robb**College Counselor**The Right Fit College

Refresh your memory. In many cases, students aren’t regularly practicing Geometry and it is important that you practice formulas and remember all of that math you learned in the earlier years of high school. In addition, take a few sample tests to help you with pacing and to identify what you do and do not know.

Mike Kent**Founder / Director**CollegeMax Counseling

On the SAT, questions in the math section are ordered easy to difficult. That tells you two important things. First, an answer which appears obvious is more likely to be correct towards the beginning of the section than towards the end where it is more likely to be a trap. Second, consider what it means to your pacing… if the easier questions are at the beginning, you should be more than halfway done with the questions in the section by the time you reach the halfway point of time. Otherwise, you are behind on pace. Mike Kent, CollegeMax Counseling, [email protected]

Mike Kent**Founder / Director**CollegeMax Counseling

On the SAT, questions in the math section are ordered easy to difficult. That tells you two important things. First, an answer which appears obvious is more likely to be correct towards the beginning of the section than towards the end where it is more likely to be a trap. Second, consider what it means to your pacing… if the easier questions are at the beginning, you should be more than halfway done with the questions in the section by the time you reach the halfway point of time. Otherwise, you are behind on pace. Mike Kent, CollegeMax Counseling, [email protected]