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Test PrepSATMath

SAT Math

So many students approach the math section of the test with an unhealthy amount of fear or anxiety. Familiarizing yourself with the format of the SAT math questions and developing a plan of attack for them will help you overcome this and achieve your desired score.

The Breakdown

The Math section consists of three scored sections--one 20-minute section and two 25-minute sections). You'll receive a single score of 200-800 based on your performance on all three sections. There are two types of Math questions:

  • 44 Multiple-Choice
  • 10 User-Generated Response (aka "Grid-Ins")

Both types of questions are designed to test your problem-solving abilities in topics—arithmetic, algebra and geometry—that are generally covered in the math classes taken by most high school students. A (very) few touch on basic knowledge of probability and statistics.

Strategy Talk

To do well on the Math section of the SAT, you'll not only need to understand the basic concepts covered , but also the way that they are tested. This isn't your typical math exam. No one cares how you identify the correct answer; you just need to get to the answer in the time allotted.

You'll want to develop a consistent approach to each question type. With practice, you should be able to size up a question and quickly determine your problem-solving method(s), as well as understand how difficult and/or time-consuming it will be to solve.

Also, each Math section is structured so that questions become more difficult as you progress. Hence, question #15 will be more difficult than Question #1 and Question #23 will be more difficult than Question #15 for the majority of test-takers. Fortunately, all of the questions are worth an equal amount when it comes down to calculating your score.

Preparation Tips

Your preparation should happen in three phases. First, you'll want to review the math concepts most commonly tested on the SAT. Next, you'll want to develop your approach to tackling them. And, finally, you'll want to practice.

Effective practice encompasses not only doing lots of practice problems, but also reviewing and redoing problems that you've missed so you can understand where you made a mistake or fell into a trap and learn to avoid it the next time. The most common math topics are covered in our Review and Practice area. Start with these and then practice the areas in which you struggle the most.

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Don Munce