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# 9 SAT Math Strategies

By Christopher Black & Mark Anestis
McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Dec 5, 2011

Here is a list of 9 SAT math Strategies:

1. Mark up the test. The best test takers do a lot of scratch work on the SAT, particularly on the math section. Write down what you know and show your steps. Mark up diagrams, write equations, and show your work so that you can check it when you come back later.

2. Look for patterns and use them. One important skill the SAT math section tests is "pattern finding." Always pay special attention to simple patterns or repetitions in a problem, because exploiting them is usually the key to the solution.

3. Keep it simple. If you're doing lots of calculations to solve an SAT math problem, you're probably missing a key fact that simplifies the problem. Always look for the easy way.

4. Know the basic formulas. Most of the formulas you will need for the SAT are given to you in the "Reference Information" at the beginning of each math section. Even so, get fluent in them so you can easily recognize when to use them. Also, there are several others that good test-takers need to memorize, like the slope formula, the rate formula, and the average formula.

5. Check your work. There are many ways to make careless mistakes on the SAT math. Give yourself time to go back and check over your arithmetic and algebra, and make sure everything's okay.

6. Consider different approaches. If you're stuck on a math question, try working backwards from the choices, or plugging in numbers for the unknowns.

7. Watch out for key words. Pay special attention to words like integer, even, odd, and consecutive when they show up, because students commonly overlook them. And make sure you don't confuse area with perimeter !

8. Don't overuse your calculator. Your calculator can be handy on the SAT, but the best test-takers hardly use it at all. If you're doing a lot of calculator work for a problem, you're probably making it too hard. Keep it simple, and only use the calculator as a check.

9. Re-read the question. Before finalizing your answer, re-read the question to be sure you've answered the right question. If it asks for 5x, don't give the value for x!

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