SAT Math Practice | Ultimate Guide To Practicing Each Section of the Test

One of the most challenging tests for SAT students is the SAT math test. However, there are a few pointers about the SAT math practice tests that we can make to shed some light. In essence, the SAT math section is one of the most specific areas of the SAT. With many hours of practice and dedication, this section can become the most straightforward SAT testing program section. 

To pass the test, you need to set aside some time to do practice tests. However, with the right practice materials and guidance, the SAT math practice problems will not be significant. In this post, we take a more in-depth look into the best SAT prep materials covering test components and the best practices to make sure you have an easier time tackling the test. 

SAT Math Practice - What We Recommend You Do

While there are a ton of recommendations on the internet regarding which SAT preparation books are the best and the most suitable approaches to take while preparing to take your SAT exams. We have a few recommendations to give you as well. Although several SAT prep courses claim to be the best; In this guide, we try to break it down to the specific sections of the test while considering some of the most trusted SAT courses on the internet today. 

The best way to prepare for the math SAT is to go through the most reliable courses that touch on different techniques to use while approaching SAT math problems. However, it is crucial to understand that a considerable amount of study hours is recommended for the math SAT practice to ensure success. These study hours are supposed to be subdivided reasonably to allocate sufficient time to all test sections. Below are some essential areas of the test and how to handle them.  

Einstein formula

Dealing With Numbers

One of the significant components of the SAT Math paper is numbers and integers. You will handle number classifications, integers, consecutive integers, odd and even integers, prime numbers, rational numbers, averages, percentage increase, and decrease, and sequences - both arithmetic and geometric. 

When handling number problems, it is vital to read and understand the question before drawing any conclusions. These math problems can easily be solved by separating the question from the context and identifying patterns. 

While going through these kinds of math problems, be sure to identify and re-organize the information provided while paying attention to units. Typically, linear equations are prevalent in this section, and it is essential to master linear equations. 

No Calculator Practice

The SAT usually has a section that requires you to solve arithmetic problems without a calculator. To prepare yourself for the test, you must get accustomed to performing simple and moderately complex problems without pushing a few calculator buttons. 

To ace this section, here are a few tips that you should consider while preparing for the test. This section is usually the third section of the multiple-choice section. The area has 15 questions with multiple choices and five grid-in prompts. You are allocated precisely 25 minutes to tackle this section, which translates to slightly over a minute to tackle every question. 

Once you know what you know, that is, the section’s structure, you need to follow these steps to keep yourself in check. It would be best if you thought first before computing. These SAT Math tips are essential for this section since they allow you to navigate the questions without falling for the most glaring tricks. Again, it would help if you tried to write down everything as you solve these problems since it enables you to find errors much more manageable. 

Finally, if possible, you should work backward. This method is a time saver compared to working out an equation, hoping to arrive at an answer listed among the multiple choices. Working backward allows you to work with various decisions, moving back to determine which one is correct. 

Calculator Practice

Although many people claim that all SAT mathematics questions can be solved without using a calculator, there are some benefits of mastering the use of a calculator. 

Using a calculator can significantly increase your speed and precision while handling math problems. However, if you do not have proper mastery of this tool, it can work against you. Before you start getting used to a specific calculator, ensure that it is listed as one of the college board’s acceptable calculators. Here are some tips and tricks for calculator practice. 

SAT problems are sometimes designed to be challenging to compute, yet they have unbelievably simple concepts and the logic behind them. For instance, questions that require you to solve for x in function may take up to 10 minutes to compute. However, plugging an answer to the equation and solving it using your calculator can save you a value test time. 

Additionally, mastering the graphing functionality in your calculator and practicing how to convert decimals into fractions are some of the most critical skills required for an SAT math paper. 

Algebra

Algebra is at the heart of SAT mathematics—this means that a considerable portion of the test requires you to have an exceptional understanding of the topic. With the substantial weight allocated to this algebra in the SAT, a significant amount of time should also be set aside by the student to understand and internalize algebra fundamentals.  

At this point, it is evident that practice is a crucial recipe to ace the test. In this section, you will be specifically required to understand the relationships between graphs and their linear equations. 

Similarly, you will be required to master the basics of solving linear equations with one or two variables. It would help if you also were prepared to identify equations of lines on a graph and linear inequalities of a single variable or two, among others. 

As you may know, some of these algebra skills are well discussed and published on numerous websites. Here are some published problems you can use to test your skills in preparation for the actual test. 

Coordinate Geometry

learn geometry

This section of the SAT is one of the most challenging for students all over the world. The questions in this fragment come in various facets and require a robust understanding of the fundamentals to maneuver this topic. Most of the questions on this topic come in a coordinate plane. 

Notably, the distance and midpoints are popular in this field. You can potentially be given two coordinate points and be asked to find the distance from one point to the other. Similarly, it would be best if you were prepared to find the midpoint between the coordinates. These computational tasks can be carried out using predefined math formulas or by utilizing specific geometry techniques. 

Typically SAT Math questions in this section can fall into three main subcategories; that is, the Midpoint and Distance questions, which are arguably very straightforward, counting problems, and coordinate questions. 

Plane and Solid Geometry

plane geometry

Solid geometry is typically concerned with the three-dimensions of an object, while plane geometry is one-dimensional. For instance, in geometric terms, a circle falls under the plane geometry while a sphere falls under the solid geometry category. These types of questions are usually found towards the end of each section. 

Arguably, this section of the SAT is time-consuming and relatively considered difficult. That possibly explains why they are usually included towards the end of the units. 

From the face value, it is easy to assume that these math problems are straightforward since the formulas are already listed in the formula box. However, a deeper understanding of the formulas and how to manipulate them is fundamental. 

A majority of SAT problems under this topic come in the form of diagram problems- such as questions that require you to compare the volume or surface area of solids. Besides diagram problems, you should also expect to come across Word Problems.

Trigonometry

Trigonometry is a part of the SAT math that deals with the relationship between angles. The most common term in this subcategory is SOHCAHTOA and the Pythagorean Theorem. The SOHCAHTOA defines the relationship between the sine, cosine, and tangent, while the Pythagoras theorem defines the relationship among the three sides of a right triangle. 

However, sometimes SAT problems will demand a deeper understanding of the trigonometry world. It is essential to master additional trigonometry functions below.

  • 1/sin - cosecant or CSC
  • 1/cos - secant or sec
  • 1/tan - cotangent or cot
  • It might be worth pointing out that the inverse of sine is cosecant, and not secant as many would guess, while the inverse of cosine is secant. 

    Beyond this, there are standard trigonometry identities that you should always keep on your fingertips to ace this section of the SAT. Below are the three main identities required for the SAT; 

    Sine^2 + Cos^2 = 1

    Cot^2 + 1 = Csc^2x

    Tan^2 + 1 = sec^2x

    In addition to this, you will need to master the concept of radians and its conversion to degrees and vice versa. When handling radians and degrees, be sure to crosscheck your calculator for the right units since it is a common practice among students to forget resetting their calculators. This inevitably leads to a wrong answer that could be listed among the multiple choices. 

    To top it off, you need to go through the concept of the unit circle and to exhaust this section. The earlier mentioned, SOHCAHTOA is limited in that it only handles angles between 0 and 90 degrees. The unit circle is an extension of this concept since it defines the relationship between angles in all four quadrants. 

    Formulas

    Formulas are a significant part of any math problem. Memorizing formulas to solve specific math problems can remarkably increase your overall speed. The SAT math paper itself offers standard formulas that they consider useful throughout the test. This means that you do not have to memorize all the formulas.

    However, most of these formulas are basic and average. Many students already know most of them without having to refer. The trick is to understand how to use these formulas appropriately and efficiently to increase your speeds and accuracy during the test. 

    Besides, the usual formulas enlisted at the beginning of the test, here are some additional formulas that you should research and memorize.

    The slope of a line = vertical change/ horizontal change

    The equation of a line y = MX + b

    The midpoint formula

    Distance Formula

    The Length of an Arc

    Area of an arc

    The quadratic equation

    Probability of an outcome

    How to Use SAT Math Study Materials Effectively: 5 Tips

    Once you have decided you will be sitting for the SAT Math exam, you will need to go through the new SAT math practice materials. This is because the SAT approach changes a little bit every year. Previous math problems are beneficial. However, additional value can be found from looking out for projected changes just to keep yourself prepared for the new SAT math topics.

    Here are five recommended tips on how to effectively use SAT Mathematics study material.

    Take a Full Practice Test in One Sitting

    student sitting

    What’s a better way to prepare for a test other than taking previous versions of the same test? Taking a practice test under conditions that mimic the D-day is a great way to prepare yourself. This strategy allows you to be fully prepared in terms of time allocation and exam discipline. 

    When you take a complete practice test, you will be able to use your results in an informed way and have a clearer picture of what to expect on the exam day. The purpose of this test is to prepare you physically and psychologically so that you can make decisions about how tired, hungry, or even nervous you could get during a timed test. 

    Use Proper Timing and Pace Yourself

    pace your time

    It is okay to assume that you have enough content to sit for the SAT Math paper.

    The only significant bit of preparation left is fine-tuning the loose ends to make you excel within the stipulated guidelines. 

    Speed is an essential part of the SATs; you will be allocated strict timelines for each section of the paper, which essentially means you have a specified amount of time to tackle each question.

    If you don’t beat that time limit, you risk not tackling some math problems because of time.

    Review Your Mistakes

    always check mistakes

    When practicing for the SAT exams, you need to beware of the common mistakes that you make and how often you make them. Once you are aware, you will become more cautious when dealing with a similar problem. Practicing makes you more prepared to handle similar situations in a more vigilant way. 

    To perfect your score, accuracy and keenness must be adhered to, especially with the SAT Math section. Reviewing mistakes and correcting them is one of the most effective ways of keeping in touch with your habits and learning where to be more careful next time - during the actual test. 

    Target Your Biggest Weaknesses

    parctice

    Usually, students have strengths and weaknesses.

    You may be a Trigonometry wizard, but when it comes to solving algebra equations—not so much!

    Typically, students spend too much time revising their favorite topics because it gives them motivation.

    Still, it is wiser to put more effort in the least pleasant topics that have repeatedly been a challenge to you.

     Mastering your weaknesses and practicing to improve in those fields will significantly increase your overall performance. 

    Set a Study Schedule

    make a schedule

    If you are a focused student and being knowledgeable about SAT Math topics is something of importance to you, a schedule should be part of your routine.

    The SAT Mathematics review indicates that there are several sections of significance for the test. It is essential to organize yourself appropriately by considering all the topics. 

    Preparing a schedule allows you to allocate flexible hours, depending on your weaknesses and strengths. You can also allocate study hours depending on the weight of the topic on the SAT Math exam. 

    Conclusion

    Preparing for an exam is a daunting task that requires focus and resilience. When it comes to the SAT Math prep and understanding what math is on the SAT, dedication and commitment must be demonstrated. 

    Leonard Haggin
     

    I created this site to help students like you learn from the experiences my team had learned during our extensive academic careers. I am now studying Law at Stanford, but I also make time to write articles here in order to help all you fellow students advance in your academic careers and beyond. I hope our efforts on Study Prep Lounge will arm you with the knowledge you need to overcome whatever trial or test you find in front of you.

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