## SAT Math Test Tips

**Answer the question asked**You will be surprised but the most common error on SAT math is answering what is NOT asked. Read your question carefully and underline or circle what is asked in the question.

Example:

If x > 0 and x2 = 4, then what is the value of 2x?

A) -4

B) -2

C) 2

D) 4

Most students mark their answer as (C). However, that is the trap as the question is not asking the value of x, but 2x. The correct answer is (D).

**Avoid algebra**Yes! You read it correct!

Most traps are designed around the use of algebra. Try replacing your variables with numbers. For example, if a question suggests that Adam is x years old, then think Adam is 10 (or any other number of your choice).

Example:

How old was a person exactly 1 year ago if exactly *x *years ago the person was *y *years old?

A) y - x - 1

B) x - y - 1

C) y + x + 1

D) y + x - 1

Can someone be x or y years old? No!

Hence, it is a good idea to replace these variables with numbers.

Let’s read the question with numbers instead of variables:

How old was a person exactly 1 year ago if exactly *2 *years ago the person was *10 *years old?

You already know the answer now. It must be 11.

Use the same numbers in the answer choices and find the correct answer.

A) 10 - 2 - 1 ≠ 11

B) 2 - 10 - 1 ≠ 11

C) 10 + 2 + 1 ≠ 11

D) 10 + 2 - 1 = 11

Hence, the answer is (D).

**Look for Patterns**SAT loves to ask questions that would take minutes to solve the regular way, but can be answered quickly if you can spot a pattern.

Example:

If x + y = 3 and 2x + 3y = 5, then what is the value of 5x + 7y?

Most students will solve for x and y and then find the value for 5x + 7y. However, if you see the pattern, then you can simply find the value by multiplying the second equation by 2 and adding it to the first equation.

(2x + 3y = 5) * 2

4x + 6y = 10

x + y = 3

Adding the two, we get

5x + 7y = 13

**Do the Easy Questions first**The questions are arranged in increasing order of difficulty. Hence, it is a good idea to do the easy questions first. It gives you more confidence to do the difficult ones.

**Be careful with the units**Make sure when your questions change the units. Be aware when to move from minutes to seconds or hours.

Example:

In three separate 1-mile races, Olivia finished with times of x minutes, y minutes, and z minutes, respectively. What was her average speed, in miles per hour, for all the three races?

A) (x+y+z)/3

B) 3/(x+y+z)

C) (x+y+ z)/180

D) 180/(x+y+z)

If you marked your answer as (B), then you fell for the trap of not changing the units. Look carefully! The question provides time in *minutes* but wants the answer in *hours*. (B) is the answer in *minutes*.

Average speed = Total Distance/Total Time

Total Distance = 1 + 1 + 1 = 3

Total time = (x + y + z) minutes

Converting the time to hours, we get (x + y + z)/60 hours

Hence, Average Speed = Total Distance/Total Time = 3/(x + y + z)/60 = 180/(x + y + z)

The answer is (D).

**Draw diagrams or label them**Always draw a diagram, if required for the question. Do not skip this step as it can lead to falling for a trap. ** **If you’re already given a diagram, label it. Use that information to help you visualize math problems.

Example:

In the figure above, AC is a diameter of the circle with center O and OB = 7. If the measure of angle ACB is 20, what is the area of the shaded sector?

Explanation:

Since *OA*, *OB*, and *OC *are all radii, tri- angles *AOB *and *BOC *are isosceles. Therefore, we can find all the angles with the Isosceles Triangle Theorem and the Angle Sum Theorem:

Since the central angle is 40, the area of the sector is 40/360 = 1/9 of the circle.

So, the area of the sector is 49π /9.

We are certain that using these tips will help you improve your performance on the SAT significantly. You should also pay attention to more in-depth strategies in your studying so that you can improve your content knowledge and feel more confident on the test!

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