How to improve your SAT math score

Brad Hegarty
Slide Set by Brad Hegarty, updated more than 1 year ago
Brad Hegarty
Created by Brad Hegarty over 4 years ago
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Very few of us have been gifted with any kind of math genius. But there are some areas you can focus your attention on that'll help improve you SAT math score.

Resource summary

Slide 1

    The Math SAT exam
    Very few of us have been gifted with any kind of math genius. Indeed, for many of us math can sometimes be like an unsolvable puzzle.The good news is that you don't need to be a math whizz to improve your SAT score.To do this, simply focus your energy on becoming familiar with the most-tested SAT math concepts. Once you've done this, you'll have safeguarded yourself from being caught off-guard of unprepared on the day.

Slide 2

    Know your triangles
    Triangles are tested a lot on the SAT. You should know the Pythagorean Theorem, Triangle Inequality Theorem, the special right triangles (45-45-90 and 30-60-90), along with the properties of isosceles and equilateral triangles.Other plane geometry concepts to review include parallel and intersecting lines, angles, circles, and polygons.

Slide 3

    Relationship building
    No, I don't mean the kinds of relationships you have with family or friends, I'm talking about ratios and proportions.A ratio is a relationship between two things. Given a ratio and one “real world” number, you can always set up a proportion to solve for the other missing “real world” number. Sometimes you will need to do this for similar triangles in geometry and sometimes in algebraic word problems.Know the difference between values, ratios, and percents. The SAT test-makers value being able to move easily between percents, fractions, and decimals.

Slide 4

    Avoid over-complication
    Recognizing number properties will save yo precious time test day. Number properties rules include odds and evens, prime numbers, and the order of operations. You can pick numbers to help you remember the rules.Don't use involved algebraic equations by picking numbers for variables. Avoid picking 0 or 1 because these numbers have their own special properties.Another quick tip: Translate the words in the question into math so that you can solve more easily. Remember that ”of” means to multiply.

Slide 5

    Getting functions to work
    Instead of y = mx + b, you might see something such as f(x) = mx + b. It’s helpful to think of a function as simply replacing the “y” with a symbol called “f(x).” The SAT may also present made-up symbol functions; pay attention to any definitions you are given and expand accordingly.

Slide 6

    Don't make exponents into opponents!
    To make friends with your exponents, remember: When you multiply two terms with the same base, you can add the exponents. When you divide two terms with the same base, you can subtract the exponent of the numerator from the exponent of the denominator. And when you raise an exponent to another power, you multiply the exponents. Look for ways to simplify exponents by rewriting numbers in terms of their exponents.
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