# 7 Strategies for Success on the SAT Math Section

The SAT has three graded sections - reading, math, and writing. To improve your college admission and scholarship options, you will want to get the highest math score possible. The SAT tests basic math, algebra, and geometry. Students do NOT need pre-cal., trig, or calculus on the SAT.

The exam is structured to include easy, medium, and hard questions. The difficulty level of the questions does not correspond to the subject matter. For example, the Algebra II concepts are not tested with harder questions than basic math concepts, even though Algebra II is a more advanced course in school. The SAT math can take any concept and make an easy or hard.

I've helped thousands of students improve their SAT scores and there are some key strategies that will help you improve your math score.

**1. Brush up on basic algebra and geometry skills. **If you don't know the basics, you will struggle. No test taking strategies, math short-cuts, or fancy graphing calculator can compensate for a lack of basic skills.

**2. Know that SAT math sections begin with easier questions, and they become progressively harder. **If you struggle with math, you may opt to leave ALL the hard questions blank and focus your time, energy, and brainpower on the first half of the questions.

**3. Unless you want to earn a score of 650+ in math, you can leave the last 10-20% of the questions blank. **These are the hardest, most time-consuming problems. Even students attempting to earn a 600 can safely leave the hardest questions blank and focus on accurately answering the remaining problems.

**4. Writing problems out will help you avoid careless errors. **Don't try to solve everything in your head! Calculators can help, but if you don't know what to enter in, you will be lost. Be ready to sketch figures, write out equations, and do some writing in your booklet.

**5. Focus on accuracy.** Stop worrying about finishing the section and start focusing on getting questions right. Your scores will improve when you answer more questions correctly. Most students benefit by slowing down and concentrating. Take the time you need to make calculations, sketch figures in your booklet, and think about possible solutions.

**6. Remember that harder questions may not require higher-level math concepts**, but often these questions involve multiple steps and the ability to avoid calculation errors. The hardest questions frequently involve six or more steps from problem to solution. Each step is an opportunity to make a calculation error or misstep, so take your time.

**7. Look for short-cuts. **If you find yourself performing complex computations on more than one or two questions, you will never have time to finish the section. Look for ways to simplify your workload. For example, if you are going to test the answer choices by plugging them back into the problem, start with choice C. Usually answers are given in numerical order, so by starting in the middle, you won't have to test all choices before finding a solution.

Don't let test taking anxiety make the SAT harder than it already is. Take time to familiarize yourself with the SAT format, questions, and grading scale. Often a little practice and confidence can go a long way in improving your SAT math results.

College admission is more competitive now than ever. Your SAT or ACT scores can be the difference between getting in, earning scholarships, or denial. Megan Dorsey is a nationally recognized expert in test preparation and college admissions who has helped thousands of students earn the scores they need and get into the colleges of their dreams. To receive free college planning and test prep resources visit http://collegeprepllc.com/

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### Sat Math

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