SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

The Ultimate SAT Math Prep Guide: Tips, Formulas, and Practice

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Mar 3, 2017 9:00:00 AM

SAT Math

 

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The SAT math section is entirely trainable, so the more you understand how it works, the better you will be able to perform on test day. And we are here to give you absolutely everything you'll need to master SAT math. 

This is the best, most comprehensive guide for SAT math prep available. 

We have scoured all the research and resources we could find and put them together here for your perusal. So if you're dedicated to doing your best on the SAT and you're ready to commit your time and energy to improving your score, then this is the place for you. (And best of all, it's entirely free!)

This guide will serve as a directory for all the SAT math information and guides we've written. We'll start by giving a few comparisons between the SAT and the ACT math section for any of you still on the fence. Next we'll go through the math section at the high level and give you access to free SAT tests and practice problems. Afterward, we'll dive into the larger SAT tips you'll need for the test, before getting into individual topic guides you'll need to know.

With that said, it's a good idea to go through each guide we've linked roughly in order, at least for the first time. You can then come back to any of the guides you need in order to give yourself a refresher.

So let's dive in!

 

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SAT vs. ACT

For those of you who aren't sure whether the SAT or the ACT is right for you, we've broken down exactly how they differ (and overlap), and which test is best for the type of math student you are. 


The Difference Between ACT Math and SAT Math

What, exactly, is the difference between the SAT and ACT math sections? We'll show you how each test differs in terms of structure, style, and content, and what that means for you and your studies. 

 

Which is Easier—ACT or SAT Math?

Everyone seems to have an opinion on whether the ACT or the SAT math section is easier, but no one can agree on which one it is. This guide will help you determine whether the ACT or SAT is best for you



High-Level SAT Math Section Overview

Now that you've (presumably) decided to study for the SAT math section, let's talk big picture. These guides will lay the foundation for your SAT studies and give you an idea of how the math section works as a whole (as well as how to master it at the high level). 

 

What’s Tested on SAT Math?

The first step to understanding how to master the math section is understanding exactly what you'll be tested on. After all, you wouldn't want to waste your time studying a topic that will never show up on the test, so make sure to take a look at what the test covers and focus your studies there. 

 

How to Improve Low SAT Math Scores

This guide will take you through the scaling and grading structure of the SAT math section and show you just how you can use it to your own advantage. So if you've already taken a practice test and are currently scoring below a 600, learn what you'll need to do and how to boost that score and get you to where you want to be. 

 

How to Get a Perfect 800 on SAT Math

For those of you who are already doing well on the math section, but who are aiming for perfection, this is the guide for you. Written by a perfect scorer, our guide will help you take your scores to the very top. 



Free SAT Tests and SAT Math Practice Problems

Mastering the SAT is a combination of arming yourself with knowledge of the test and taking the time to practice on real practice tests and problems. We've linked here all the free SAT math materials you can find online that you can use to study. 

 

Official SAT Math Practice Tests Available for Free

If you haven't yet taken a full practice test, set aside some time and sit down and take one of these free, real SAT tests. This will give you a starting point to work with and will show you how your math scores fit into the larger picture of your SAT score. 

 

Complete List of Free SAT Math Practice Problems

Beyond full SATs, there are many math SAT problems available online. We have linked them all here, as well as given you the tips necessary to master them.

 

The Hardest SAT Math Questions

From all the real SAT math problems available, we have compiled the 13 hardest questions (for both the No Calculator and Calculator sections) along with answer explanations. Take a look if you're ready to test yourself against the most difficult problems the SAT has to offer. 

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SAT Math Tips and Tools

So far, you've learned what the test looks like, taken a look through the high-level strategies for earning and improving your scores, and discovered the best sources for practice problems. Next, let's look at the specific skills and tools you'll need to tackle the SAT math section. 

 

The 28 SAT Math Formulas You MUST Know

One of the most important aspects for mastering the SAT is having a solid understanding of the key math formulas and knowing how to apply them. We'll show you what math formulas you'll need to know, what formulas you'll be given on the test, and what formulas you can get away with not knowing. 

 

How to Use SAT Math Formulas

Now that you know your formulas, what's the best way to use them? We'll show you exactly how to make the best use of your SAT formula knowledge and determine when it'll be faster to use a formula or work a problem out by hand. 

 

How to Use SAT Practice Math Problems Effectively

You already have access to SAT practice problems, so it's a good idea to learn how to best use them to effectively raise your score. We'll show you how to do just that. 

 

Guide to SAT Calculators

A good (and allowed) calculator on the SAT math section is indispensable. Learn which calculators are allowed on the test and get the inside knowledge of which calculators the SAT experts prefer. 

 

How to Guess Strategically on SAT Math

When should you make a guess on the SAT math section? How can you make the best guess for the question? If you've ever hesitated to make a guess on the SAT, now's the time to learn how to improve your chance of getting the right answer on each question, so you can get your greatest score possible

 

How to Stop Running Out of Time on the SAT Math Section

Running out of time on the math section? You're not alone! We'll take you through the steps you'll need to overcome this common problem, reach your best score, and beat the clock.

 

How to Know When You’re Stuck in Math (and What to Do About It)

Everything seems to be going great in your math section and then suddenly you realize you've been going down the wrong path all along. Or perhaps you've been staring at the same problem for three minutes and still have no idea where to go. If this feeling sounds familiar, then this is the guide for you. We'll help you identify (quickly) when you're going down the wrong path and how to get yourself back on the right track.

 

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SAT Math Topics Guides

Now that you've got a solid grasp of the most important higher-level SAT math strategies, it's time to take a look at each and every SAT math topic. We have written individual informational and strategy guides for every topic on the SAT and provided practice problems with answer explanations for each. 

 

Strategies for Multiple Types of Math Problems

Many SAT math problems can be solved in multiple ways and there are two different strategies that can apply to many math problems on the test. Understanding these strategies can allow you to answer questions on math topics you are wary of or even topics you don't understand much at all. 

 

Plugging in Answers

Instead of actually solving the math problem, you can use the structure of the test against itself. Learn how!

 

Plugging in Numbers

For complex algebra problems, nothing beats working with real numbers instead of variables. In this guide, we'll show you exactly how to do it. 

 

Individual Guides

Now let's look at each math topic on the SAT by subject. 

 

Numbers

 

Algebra

 

Coordinate Geometry

 

Plane and Solid Geometry

 

The Takeaways

There's a lot of information here, so take your time with it and balance your studies over a period of several months, if possible. The SAT math section is complicated and there is a lot to study and understand if you want to do really well on it. 

But always take to heart that it is possible for you to do well on SAT math. It takes dedication and discipline, but mastering the math section is completely doable. Taking the time to work through these guides is a great first step!

 

What’s Next?

Check out our guides to the other SAT sections: Reading and Writing.

If you're still feeling overwhelmed, it may be a good idea to work with a prep program. Our PrepScholar SAT prep program learns your strengths and weaknesses and tailors your study materials and lessons to the areas where you need it most. We'll also show you how to balance out your time over the course of your prep so that you can get the most for every hour that you prep. 

And if you're still procrastinating, take a look at how you can overcome it and get your focus back

 

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points? 

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Our program is entirely online, and it customizes what you study to your strengths and weaknesses. If you liked this Math strategy guide, you'll love our program. Along with more detailed lessons, you'll get thousands of practice problems organized by individual skills so you learn most effectively. We'll also give you a step-by-step program to follow so you'll never be confused about what to study next.

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Courtney Montgomery
About the Author

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.



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