Need to study for the SAT Math section, but don’t know where to start? On a budget? Not to worry! We have put together the list of all the best (and free!) SAT math study materials and guides available online.
So let’s take a look.
[Note: For guides and reviews of the best for-pay SAT study, check out our list of SAT study links, which includes both free and for-pay materials for every SAT topic.]
Before We Begin
It is incredibly important to get your study materials from the right places. The SAT is a very specific kind of test and there are many (many!) websites and programs out there, both free and not, that provide SAT prep materials of poor quality.
If you spend your time studying from inferior materials, you won't have a clear sense of how you’ll do on test day. Test prep is all about assessing your current level and improving upon it, but you won’t be able to do this is you get a false sense of your skill level (either higher or lower) based off of poor study materials. Products and test questions that don’t properly reflect the SAT are a waste of your time.
Knowing this, it's best to base your studying off of the official SAT materials. The test is designed by the College Board and their free materials are far and away the best place to start studying. From here, you can then branch off into programs and materials based off College Board’s material.
We will look at all the links for all your free official practice tests and guides from the College Board (both for the current and new SAT), as well as all the free programs and guides out there that are based on this official material.
Ready, set, go!
The College Board creates and issues the SAT and their materials are the place to begin when it comes to collecting your free study material. They have complete tests and practice questions for both the current SAT and the old SAT, so let's take a look.
Free Practice Tests
New SAT Math Practice
Full Practice Tests
You may notice that there are missing years (2005/2006, 2006/2007, etc.). The tests for these missing years are repeats of the ones above. The 4 tests linked here are the only free tests available from the past 10 years.
(Note: If you purchase the Official Study Guide, you will have access to 10 more College Board practice tests, but this is, of course, not free.)
If you're having trouble figuring out whether to take the current or the new SAT, check out how to figure out which SAT is right for you.
Khan Academy is a non-profit that has partnered with the College Board. This means that their questions come from both the same practice materials we linked above from the College Board and/or have been created or adapted with approval from/in tandem with official College Board materials.
PrepScholar has free resources for all of your SAT math needs, including detailed guides on every math topic on the SAT. All of our guides include definitions and explanations of each math topic, give examples of how you’ll see each topic on the test, and provide real SAT practice questions with detailed answer explanations.
Plane and Solid Geometry
In addition, we also have strategy guides that will help you solve numerous SAT math problems across the board, including:
You can also sign up for a free 5 day trial to our test prep program. Our program assesses your current strengths and weaknesses and adapts based on your progress. It gives you practice questions tailored to your areas of needed improvement and provides answer explanations for all questions.
All our questions are based off of real SAT test questions and, though the full program is not free, we guarantee your money back if you do not improve by 240 points.
Finally, CrackSAT is a SAT study site with numerous pdfs of full, real, SATs, as well as real SAT math questions. The math questions are both multiple choice and grid-ins, to give you the full range of SAT math practice.
You've gathered all your study material...so now what?
How to Effectively Use Your Study Material
It is just as important to know how to best utilize your study material as it is to know how to access it. These steps will help you achieve your highest score from the study materials available.
1) Start by taking a full test in one sitting
Though you're probably reading this article because you're mostly concerned about your SAT math score, you'll still need to know how you fare over the course of the full SAT. Answering one or two SAT questions may not be overly challenging, but the test is a marathon and if you are't prepared, you can find yourself exhausted by the end of it. And exhaustion will lead anyone to make mistakes.
So before you dedicate your focus to the math, see how your math score fits into the larger test-taking picture by taking a complete SAT all together.
2) Practice with proper timing
As you take both your complete test and any math-specific sections, make sure you follow the proper timing outlined on the test itself. For the multiple choice sections, you will have, on average, 1.25 minutes per question. For the combination multiple choice and grid-in section, you will have, on average, 1.4 minutes per question. Remember that accuracy is only half the battle--you must actually finish your questions within the given time limits if you want to score your best.
Don’t worry if you run out of time while taking your first practice test, though! This is completely normal and gives you a place to begin and improve. If the trend continues, however, check out our guide on how to stop running out of time on the SAT math section.
3) Review your mistakes
It's one thing to take a test, but now you must look over your results and identify the patterns of your correct and incorrect answers. Do you tend to get the last few questions wrong on each math section? Do function questions always throw you for a loop?
First always look to where you can pick up easy points and target those areas (remember: each question, no matter how easy or difficult, is worth the same amount of points!).
4) Target your areas of weakness
Now that you've seen your areas of weakness and picked up easy points, really examine your errors in the medium and difficult ranges. Your goal is to tailor your studying to focus on and hit those areas.
Remember, your overall objective is to answer as many questions as accurately as possible, so dedicate the majority of your time to improving your areas of weakness, rather than reviewing material you already know. Refreshing your known material again and again might make you feel productive and confident, but it doesn't do a whole lot to improve your score. Your best bet is to focus on your problem areas and expand your knowledge base.
5) Pace your studying
Don’t cram all your studying into one day before the test. You may have a busy schedule and feel that your only option is to cram, but improvement happens over time. And yet don't give up, either! No matter how much time you have left before the test, you can make a balanced study program.
Start by looking at the time you have before test-day. Next, assign yourself at least three full practice tests in addition to your normal studying, paced out over the course of your time until the test. If you only have a week or two before test day, this probably won’t be possible, but it’s still important to fit in at least one practice test or two in where you can. Nothing can replicate the real experience of the SAT like a full practice test, so don't underestimate its importance.
6) Sign up with a tutor or prep program if you aren't seeing signs of improvement
Some people find that they want to do all their studying alone, but for others this simply isn't doable. If you find that the material doesn't make sense to you or you need an outward push to help you (or just make you make time to study), then a tutor or a test prep program (or both!) are necessary to give you that final push and maximize your potential score.
Targeted and careful practice, rest, and confidence--the perfect recipe for SAT success.
Want to know what the hardest SAT math questions are? We've put together a list of the 21 hardest SAT math questions given in the past 10 years, along with answer explanations for each.
Bitten by the procrastination bug? Time running out until test day? Check out how to beat the urge to procrastinate and learn how to balance time for your study prep.
Looking to get a perfect score? Check out our guide to getting a perfect 800 on SAT math, written by a perfect-scorer.
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Courtney scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT in high school and went on to graduate from Stanford University with a degree in Cultural and Social Anthropology. She is passionate about bringing education and the tools to succeed to students from all backgrounds and walks of life, as she believes open education is one of the great societal equalizers. She has years of tutoring experience and writes creative works in her free time.