SAT Math Tips: How to Study

The SAT Math Test is divided into four content areas: Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, Passport to Advanced Math, and Additional Topics in Math.
Remember that the Math sections are the 3rd and 4th sections of SAT. During the first 25-minute SAT Math section, you are NOT allowed to use your calculator. During the next 55-minute SAT Math section, you are allowed to use your calculator.
Ready to start studying for the SAT? Here are some tips for handling the SAT Math test like a pro.

  • Take a practice test

    Take a practice test with an answer sheet. Time yourself. Then, score the test and study the topics that you need to work on more. This can help you build an effective study plan.

  • Memorize formulas and math facts

    Review each topic covered on the SAT Math section and memorize formulas and facts. If you memorize them well, you are more likely to ‘see’ a solution. For example, if you see “parallel lines” on the xy coordinate plane, you should recall that “no solution” and “the same slope” are common answers for this type of questions. Being able to spot solutions quickly will help you move through the section accurately and efficiently.

  • Practice and review

    Become familiar with SAT Math question types. The best way to do this  is through practice. If you get a question wrong as you’re improving your score, don’t fret. Review the explanation to see what you missed; then, solve it again using what you learned.

  • Use strategies

    If you cannot solve an SAT Math question using math that you’re familiar with, see if you can use strategies like picking numbers or backsolving. Picking numbers is a strategy that replaces variables with numbers that fit the criteria in the question, turning algebra into arithmetic. Backsolving involves plugging the answer choices back into the question to see which one works. These strategies can help you when you are stuck and can often be time-saving. This will help you to earn a few extra points on test day.

  • Learn to perform basic calculations

    The SAT has a no-calculator section. Learn to confidently perform basic calculations, such as multiplying, dividing, and sketching the graph of a line, without a calculator.

  • Eliminate careless mistakes

    In order to do well on the SAT (or any standardized test), you have to minimize careless mistakes. Since you are being timed, you are more likely to make mistakes. Be aware of timing, but try not to become stressed by it.

  • Practice improving your speed

    In order to earn a high score, you have to get to the end of the test. You’ll want to have extra time for the later part of the section where you’re likely to see more difficult questions. As you prepare for the SAT Math sections, make sure you practice under timed conditions (about a minute to a minute and a half per question). This will help you become as efficient as possible before test day.