SAT Math Topics to Know

SAT Math Topics: What to Know

Are you ready to tackle SAT Math? Review what’s tested on the SAT Math section so you know what to expect on exam day so you can incorporate these concepts into your SAT study plan. Then, test your abilities with realistic SAT Math practice questions.

What topics are tested on the SAT Math test?

The SAT Math test can be broken down into 4 main content areas: Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, Passport to Advanced Math, and Additional Topics. Some questions on the SAT Math test may include concepts that seem unfamiliar to you, but don’t worry–all the topics tested on the SAT Math test are taught in your typical high school Pre-algebra, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus classes.

Read on for a more in-depth look at the concepts you might see on the SAT Math test.

Update: SAT Going Completely Digital in 2024

College Board has announced that the paper-and-pencil SAT will be no more, as the test will soon switch to the new Digital SAT. Test-takers in the U.S. will first experience the digital test for the October 2023 PSAT before the SAT officially goes digital in the U.S. in 2024.

Changes to the SAT when it goes digital

The main change to the Digital SAT will be the duration, as the test will now only take two hours, instead of three. For many test-takers, the shorter test day will make the SAT less daunting and more approachable.

The Digital SAT will be section-adaptive, meaning that each subject will be divided into two sections. The test-taker’s performance on the first section will inform the difficulty of the second section. The goal of this is to create a more efficient test-taking experience. Despite these changes, the SAT will retain its 1600 scoring scale.

Other changes to the SAT include a calculator being allowed on the entire math section and shorter reading passages with just one question-per-passage.

Digital SAT Math Quiz

Get ahead of the most challenging parts of the new Digital SAT by taking this math quiz.

SAT Math Topics: Heart of Algebra

  1. Translate a word problem into an expression, equation, or inequality.
  2. Solve a linear equation or inequality with one variable (including absolute values).
  3. Solve a system of linear equations or inequalities with two variables.
  4. Interpret a linear equation, expression, or inequality in context.
  5. Understand how a linear graph relates to an equation or system of equations or inequalities.

SAT Math Topics: Problem Solving and Data Analysis

  1. Use ratios, rates, and proportions to solve a problem.
  2. Use percentages to solve a problem.
  3. Perform unit conversions.
  4. Predict a line or curve of best fit for a scatterplot.
  5. Understand the difference between linear and exponential growth.
  6. Calculate probabilities from data.
  7. Calculate mean, median, mode, and range of data, and understand how these, along with standard deviation, affect the shape, center, and spread of data.
  8. Make and justify statistical inferences from data (little to no statistical calculation required).

SAT Math Topics: Passport to Advanced Math

  1. Use a quadratic or exponential function to model a real-life context.
  2. Simplify an expression with exponents.
  3. Manipulate and interpret a nonlinear expression in its context.
  4. Isolate a variable in a nonlinear equation.
  5. Solve a quadratic equation (via factoring, completing the square, and quadratic formula).
  6. Perform operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) with polynomial expressions.
  7. Solve an equation containing variables in the denominator.
  8. Solve a system of equations consisting of a quadratic and linear equation.
  9. Know how the zeros and factors of a polynomial relate to one another and to the polynomial’s graph.
  10. Know how a nonlinear graph relates to an equation or system of nonlinear equations.
  11. Understand function notation and how transformations/compositions are performed in this notation.

SAT Math Topics: Additional Topics

  1. Use volume and area formulas (provided on test).
  2. Solve for missing information when parallel lines are cut by a transversal or when similar/congruent triangles are provided.
  3. Solve a right triangle using the Pythagorean theorem or trigonometric ratios (sine, cosine, tangent).
  4. Use the relationship between similar triangles, trigonometric ratios, and right triangles.
  5. Calculate missing values in a circle (arc lengths, angle measures, chord lengths, sector areas).
  6. Convert between degree and radian measures.
  7. Find and interpret the standard form for the equation of a circle in the coordinate plane.
  8. Perform operations between complex numbers.

SAT Math Practice Questions