SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

The Best SAT Math Practice Tests and Questions

Posted by Dora Seigel | May 21, 2016 6:00:00 PM

SAT Math

 

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For SAT Math prep, no matter your strategy, whether you’re doing self-study, a class, or working with a tutor, you need to be working with real SAT Math practice materials. The SAT Math test will be different from any other Math test you’ve taken. You need to work with the real material to get used to the pacing and style of this unique test. In this short guide, I’ll let you know where to find official SAT Math practice tests and what material to avoid.

 

Best SAT Math Practice Tests - Free and Official

These Math tests are free. We've gathered together all of them in one place for your convenience. For the newly redesigned 2016 SAT, there are currently only eight official practice tests. You can download them here or take them online at Khan Academy (see the next section for more details).

You can find the scoring guides and answer explanations on the SAT website

The official SAT prep book is not worth purchasing because it's all available for free online, and it includes only the first four of the practice tests that are linked to above. 

These eight tests are really all you have in the way of full official new SATs. Below I’ll explain how to use them most effectively.

 

Official Math SAT Prep at Khan Academy

If you want a little extra prep (which you likely will since there aren't many official practice tests), there are a bunch of official Math practice questions available as part of Khan Academy’s free SAT prep. To access them, you’ll need to sign up for an account, but it's free and tracks your progress over time.

On Khan Academy, the SAT lessons and practice questions are divided by type, so they're very helpful for more targeted studying. There’s a lot of math content, which can help you brush up on concepts you may have missed or forgotten. You can see a sample Math question below: 

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Math Practice Questions on the SAT Website

Lastly, there are a few extra Math practice questions available on the College Board website: 30 calculator-permitted math questions, and 18 no-calculator questions.

 

Other SAT Math Materials

In general, I recommend against any SAT Math practice tests that were not written by the College Board as it won’t be realistic practice. You want to use real practice materials so that you ensure you’re taking tests that reflect the actual content and difficulty of the real SAT.

If you take practices tests made by other companies, they may be more or less difficult and may not include all of the content on the real SAT Math section, especially since the 2016 SAT is brand new most books will not accurately reflect the new test.

However, unofficial tests can be great for practicing math skills but if not for practicing SAT style questions. SAT Math, more than any other section, is based on knowledge, so having plenty of materials to practice the different math skills required is important and bad formatting doesn't always matter as much. Check out our massive collection of SAT study material for official and unofficial SAT practice tests. 

If you still want more SAT Math study material, check out our guide to the best SAT Math prep books.               

 

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Get your study on!

 

4 Tips to Use These SAT Math Practice Tests Effectively

Since you have a limited number of full-length SAT practice tests (with a total of eight Math practice tests, one within each), each one is a precious commodity. You need to make sure you get the most out of each one. Here are my top four tips to best use your SAT Math practice tests:

 

Tip #1: Take Full-Length Practice Tests Under Realistic Conditions

Take each full-length practice test in one sitting with accurate timing and realistic testing condition. That means sitting for about 4 hours (if you include the essay in your practice). Only allow yourself the prescribed time per section; the time allowed is listed at the beginning of each section. Use a watch to time yourself. 

You need to get used to the timing and learn to pace yourself. Don’t give yourself any extra time on the sections. If you do, you may be able to answer extra questions and artificially inflate your score. You want to be able to use these practice tests as reliable indicators of your real score, so no cheating! Spend only the allowed amount of time on each section.

I recommend taking each official SAT practice test in one sitting (i.e. don't simply sit for the Math tests one day and then taking the Reading and Writing tests another day). The SAT is a marathon, and you won’t be fully prepared for it if you don’t take the practice tests in one sitting.

If you don’t have time to take each of the official practices tests in one sitting (one sitting will be about 4 hours per test), then you can split the sections over multiple days, but make sure you take at least one full section each day (i.e. you complete the whole math non-calculator section).

NOTE: realistic testing conditions means obeying all test rules. On the SAT Math sections, make sure you only use your calculator on the calculator-permitted math section (section 4) and that you do not use your calculator on the No Calculator section (section 3). You need to get used to doing mental math! Don’t cheat in your practice or you won’t be prepared the day of the test!

 

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Use a watch, not a phone!

 

Tip #2: Review Your Practice

Review your practice testsWhen you finish your SAT practice tests, score your test. Then, look at the in-depth answer explanations for every question you got wrong. Try to figure out where you went wrong. Do not skip this step! If you do, you're not going to learn from your errors, and you'll continue making them.

Spend at least an hour reviewing your SAT practice tests (or at least 15 minutes per section). While it may seem like a lot of study time wasted, I promise it’s not. It’s the most valuable time spent because it’s the time where you’ll learn from your mistakes.   

If you don’t have a lot of study time, I’d recommend you take two SAT practice tests with detailed review then at least four SAT Math practice tests with no review.

 

Tip #3: Practice Skills Between Tests

Some students see the improvement they want by simply taking practice tests and familiarizing themselves with the pace and style. However, most students need to review math concepts that they forgot, never learned, or never quite mastered. 

In between practice tests, I highly recommend that you read our individual Math content guides. These guides address the specific content areas (i.e. Coordinate Geometry, Trigonometry, Systems of Equations, etc.) that you need to master to do well in SAT Math. 

After taking your first practice test, see if you can figure out why you got those math questions wrong: did you skip a step? Did you misread the question? Or did you not know the content needed to solve the question? If you didn't know how to solve the question, then you need to review that content! 

 

Tip #4: Get Help If You Need It!

If you’re not improving with each practice test, you should look for extra help: consider supplementing the SAT practice tests with extra prep work, either a tutor, class, book (such as the ones linked to above) or a program. While some people may be able to learn from their mistakes on practice tests through self-study, most need outside help to identify their weaknesses and to help them improve.

Whatever prep you choose, know that a good prep program should be personalized to your needs, focusing on your area of weakness while not wasting your time covering topics that you’ve already mastered.

 

What’s Next?

Interested in testing yourself with the hardest SAT math questions out there? Check out our 13 toughest SAT math question guide.

Running out of time on the SAT math section? Our guide will help you beat the clock and maximize your score.

Aiming for a perfect score? Check out our guide on how to get a perfect 800 on the SAT math section, written by a perfect-scorer.

 

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Dora Seigel
About the Author

As an SAT/ACT tutor, Dora has guided many students to test prep success. She loves watching students succeed and is committed to helping you get there. Dora received a full-tuition merit based scholarship to University of Southern California. She graduated magna cum laude and scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT. She is also passionate about acting, writing, and photography.



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