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Techniques to Improve Your SAT Math Section

Everyone dreads the SAT. Standardized testing is stressful and overwhelming. Summer is a great time to prep for testing. I want to share with you a few of my favorite techniques that you can use to boost your math section score.

Do Easy Questions First


All questions are worth the same amount, so you are better off getting your points on the easy ones. The math sections start out with the easy questions first. Don’t rush through them just to get to the hard questions. If a question is too hard, circle it, skip it, and move onto the next one. You can always come back to it. Just make sure you skip it on the answer sheet too.


Eliminate Impossible Answers


Because there is a wrong answer penalty, students think they shouldn’t guess on the SAT. However, if you can eliminate at least one answer that is definitely wrong, you should guess. Don’t believe me? Let’s do the math.


You get 1 point for a right answer and lose 1/4 point for a wrong answer. If you can eliminate 1 answer choice, you have a 1 in 4 chance of getting the answer right. If you do this for 4 questions and get 1 of them correct, as the odds would suggest you should, you will be up +1/4 point (1 point – 3*1/4 point). If you can eliminate more than 1 answer choice, your odds are even better.


Plugging In


This is a great technique for the multiple choice questions in the math sections.


For example,

Question: What are all of the possible solutions to 3x + 2y = 14 if x and y are positive integers?


A. (1,5) only

B. (2,4) only

C. (1,5) and (2,4)

D. (2,4) and (4,1)

E. (4,1) and (1,5)


Instead of solving for x and y, just plug in each possible answer to see which answer is correct. This technique saves a lot of time. Practice recognizing when you can use this technique, and you will save some serious time during the test.


Please share any test taking techniques you’ve had success with in the comments. I read every one!


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