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


Our counselors answered:

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

Wendy Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

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

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

understand your own stregths and weakness

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.

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

Great Grammar Makes Great Math

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.

Corey Fischer
President CollegeClarity

Do some basic math problems

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.

Pamela Hampton-Garland
Owner Scholar Bound

Math Section of SAT

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.

Nicholas Umphrey

Upping your SAT Math scores

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: 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.

Jessica Brondo
Founder and CEO The Edge in College Prep

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

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.