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Tip #1 to Get a Top SAT Math Score

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Sep 10, 2011

For 11 years you've been trained to solve math problems the long way. "No shortcuts!" Mrs. Nicholas always said. Mrs. Nicholas was the best math teacher that I ever had, and her advice was correct for math class. But the SAT is multiple-choice, and we can save time and energy by using the answers. Instead of completing a long process of algebraic manipulation, simply test the answer choices to see which one works. This strategy works best when there are variables in the question and numbers in the answer choices.

Let's look at this question:

 

Solution: This question looks pretty tough to some students, but "Use the Answers" makes it EASY! Just plug each answer choice in for m to see which one makes the equation work. Choice A does not work because when we plug –1 in for m in the equation, we get Choice D is the only one that works, since

Correct answer: D

Example Problems

Easy

  1. If 2x – 3 = 17, then x = ?
    1. –1
    2. 0
    3. 10
    4. 22
    5. 31
  2. For which of the following values of p will the value of 4p + 2 be less than 15 ?
    1. 7
    2. 6
    3. 5
    4. 4
    5. 3
  3. Medium

  4. If j is a positive integer and what is the value of j ?
    1. –1
    2. 0
    3. 1
    4. 2
    5. 3
  5. If | 3 – n | < 4, which of the following is a possible value of n ?
    1. 9
    2. 8
    3. 7
    4. 6
    5. –1
  6. What value of t would make
    1. –54
    2. –27
    3. 0
    4. 27
    5. 54
  7. Hard

  8. The cost, in dollars, of production for u units at Max's factory is expressed by the function If Max can spend $7300 on production, what is the maximum number of units he can produce?
    1. 0
    2. 1
    3. 2
    4. 3
    5. 4

Answers

  1. C   You can answer this question quickly and easily by using simple algebra and solving for x. If, however, that is difficult or daunting, "Use the Answers." Just plug each choice in to see which one makes the equation work. Choice C is correct: 2(10) – 3 = 17.
  2. E   You can answer this question, like #1 above, by using algebra and solving for p. Or you can just "Use the Answers." Plug each choice in to see which one makes the equation work. Choice E is correct: 4(3) + 2 < 15.
  3. E   You can answer this question by usingalgebra and solving for j, or just "Use the Answers." Plug each choice in to see which one makes the equation work. Choice E is correct: .
  4. D   You can answer this question by using algebra and solving for n, or just "Use the Answers." Plug each choice in to see which one makes the equation work. Choice D is correct: |3 – 6| equals 3 which is less than 4. (|3 – 6| means the absolute value of 3 – 6, which is just fancy language for subtract 3 – 6 and make the answer positive. More on this in Skill 38.)
  5. A   You can answer this question by using algebra and solving for t; however, this "medium" difficulty question requires more involved algebra. "Use the Answers" makes the question EASY! Just plug each choice in to see which one makes the equation work. Choice A is correct since
  6. E   "Use the Answers," makes this easy. Just plug the choices in for u in the equation. Each choice yields a result (which represents production cost) less than $7300. So 4 is the highest and thus the correct answer. This question is rated "hard" because it involves functions, fractions, and variables in the exponents; difficult for many students, but easy for you with "Use the Answers."

Go to: Tip #2

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