Even with the assistance of a calculator the SAT math section can be difficult. I hope this article can serve as a checklist of the things to keep in mind during the SAT math section.
Use your Resources
On test day you’ll have a number of additional resources at your disposal including: your calculator, scratch paper, and the formula sheet, don’t forget to use them.
Use your calculator to avoid careless mistakes and move quickly through questions. You should write down key information on your scratch paper. Taking notes will allow you to avoid re-reading. The formula sheet is another resource that allows you to save time! You won’t have to waste precious minutes trying to remember a formula that has escaped you. As you study spend some time familiarizing yourself with this formula sheet.
Know what to expect
The SAT math section tests the following topics: arithmetic, algebra, geometry, statistics, and probability. As you start to prepare for the test it is important to review all of these concepts in detail. Numbers, algebra and geometry form about 60% of the content on the test. A solid understanding of triangles will also be necessary to do well on the test’s geometry questions. Triangles form the backbone of most of the geometry questions. Don’t assume that you will remember everything because it was covered in your high school math class.
After all the hard work you put into preparing for the SAT (and its math section), when test day arrives you should have a clear sense of your strengths and weaknesses. This information will help you pace yourself and let you know which questions to skip. As you work through the test, do all the easy and familiar questions first.
Read prompts carefully
The language on the SAT is often circuitous and tricky. Throughout the test it is important to read both its directions and question prompts carefully. Take note of any critical information you come across in your reading. Make sure you understand the definitions of the words being used and apply them exactly. Finally once you have solved a problem, go back and double check that you are answering the question that you were asked to solve.
On the SAT Math section, as you would with any other section, you should pace yourself and remain aware of time. Start with the easy and familiar questions. In most cases, the first 10 questions will be fairly easy. Do the work to solve these questions using your scratch paper and mark your chosen answer in the test booklet. Then transfer your answers for the first 10 questions from the test booklet to the answer sheet. Follow the same process for questions 11-15. For all remaining questions you can solve the questions and fill in your answers one by one.
When in doubt, skip!
The current SAT has a guessing penalty. For this reason it is best not to make random guesses. You should only guess when you are able eliminate a few of the available answer choices.