SAT Math Study Tips Strategies

SAT Math Tips: How to Study

The SAT Math Test is divided into four content areas: Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, Passport to Advanced Math, and Additional Topics in Math.

Remember that the SAT Math sections are the 3rd and 4th sections on the SAT test. During the first 25-minute SAT Math section, you are NOT allowed to use a calculator. During the next 55-minute SAT Math section, you are allowed to use your calculator.

Ready to start studying for the SAT? Here are some SAT Math tips for handling the math portion.


SAT Math Tips: How to Study

  • Take a practice test

    Take a practice test with an answer sheet. Time yourself. Score the test and study which topics you need to work on more. This can help you build your study plan.

  • Memorize formulas and math facts

    Review each topic covered in the SAT math section and memorize formulas and facts. If you memorize them well, you are more likely to ‘see’ a solution. For example, if you see “perpendicular lines” on xy coordinate planes, it should trigger that “no solution” and “the same slope” are common answers for these types of questions. This gives you a direction on how to tackle a question and can help orient you quickly as you move through the section.

  • Practice and review

    You need to become familiar with SAT Math question types, and the best way to achieve that is through practice. If you get a question wrong as you’re improving your score, don’t necessarily go straight to the explanation. Try to approach it differently and see if you can solve it.

  • Use strategies

    If you cannot solve an SAT Math question using math that you’re familiar with, see if you can use strategies like picking numbers or backsolving. Picking numbers is a strategy that involves picking a number for variables or for questions without abstract quantities. Backsolving is similar to picking numbers, but you pick a number from the answer choices given. These strategies can help you when you are stuck, and often can be time-saving. This will help you to earn a few extra points on test day.

  • Learn to perform basic calculations

    The SAT has a no-calculator section. This can be challenging for you if you have not done basic math calculations without calculator. Important calculations include: how to do multiplication, long-division and drawing straight line graphs. Learn to perform basic calculations without a calculator.

  • Eliminate careless mistakes

    In order to do well on the SAT, or any standardized test, you have to minimize careless mistakes. Since you are under time pressure, you are more likely to make mistakes. You have to be able to maintain good concentration throughout the test and you should keep this in mind during preparation.

  • Practice on improving your speed

    In order to score high, you have to get to the end of the test. You’ll want to have extra time for the later part of the section where you’re likely to see more difficult questions. As you prepare for the SAT Math sections, make sure you work on each question at a good speed. It is also a good idea to time yourself when you are working on math questions to become as efficient as possible before test day.