# SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

## Courtney Montgomery

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.

### Recent Posts

Acute, obtuse, isosceles, equilateral…When it comes to triangles, there are many different varieties, but only a choice few that are "special." These special triangles have sides and angles which are consistent and predictable and can be used to shortcut your way through your geometry or trigonometry problems. And a 30-60-90 triangle—pronounced "thirty sixty ninety"—happens to be a very special type of triangle indeed.

In this guide, we'll walk you through what a 30-60-90 triangle is, why it works, and when (and how) to use your knowledge of it. So let's get to it!

What is the probability that you’ll toss a coin and get heads? What about twice in a row? Three times? Probability questions ask you determine the likelihood that an event or any number of events is to occur, and the more you practice, the better your odds will be at mastering these types of questions on the ACT (see what we did there?).

This will be your complete guide to probability on the ACT—how probability works, the different types of probability questions you’ll see on the test, and the steps you’ll need to take to solve them.

Triangle questions account for less than 10% of all SAT math questions. That being said, you still want to get those questions right, so you should be prepared to know every kind of triangle: right triangles, isosceles triangles, isosceles right triangles—the SAT could test you on any one of them. Since triangle problems only account for a small percent of the SAT math questions, you shouldn’t spend all of your study time on triangles.

Functions. Just hearing the word is enough to send some students running for the hills. But never fear! Though function problems are considered some of the more challenging questions on the ACT, this is only due to the fact that most of you will be far more used to dealing with other math topics (like fractions, exponents, or circles) than you are functions.

On the ACT, question difficulty is categorized by how familiar you are likely to be with any given question, and the only way to combat this challenge is to practice and get used to dealing with questions that are a little less familiar to you. You will generally see 3-4 function questions on any given ACT, so for those of you who are not yet comfortable with functions (or just want a tune up), this guide is for you.

This will be your complete guide to ACT functions. We'll walk you through exactly what functions mean, how to use, manipulate, and identify them, and exactly what kind of function problems you'll see on the ACT.

The SAT doesn't give any penalties for incorrect answers, so you should always guess on a section, including the Math section. But guessing requires strategy, especially if you're hoping to get a high (or even perfect!) SAT Math score.

In this guide, we’ll go through how to guess strategically on SAT Math and show you examples of it in action.

Which is better/easier/faster—the SAT Math section or the ACT Math section? How does each stack up over the course of the entire test? Most importantly, which math section is right for you?

We’ll break down both the similarities and differences in this SAT Math vs ACT Math guide and help you decide which standardized test suits you better.

In our SAT guide to lines and angles, we dealt with parallel lines, perpendiculars, and the many different ways to find angle measures with two or more lines. Now, we’ll look at the other aspect of lines, namely their slopes and equations.

This will be your complete guide to lines and slopes—what slopes mean, how to find them, and how to solve the many types of slope and line equation questions you’ll see on the SAT.

Knowing when where and how to best use a calculator on the ACT can be tricky. You are allowed to bring a calculator on test day (none will be provided for you), and it can mean the difference of several points on the ACT to have a calculator versus having none.

But what kind of calculator should you bring and how should you make best use of it during the test? In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about calculators on the ACT, from when you're allowed to use them, to what kinds are allowed, to how to avoid the most common ACT calculator mistakes.

Trigonometry is the branch of math that deals with right triangles and the relationships between their sides and angles. (The word "trig" is related to the word "triangle," to help you remember.)

There will generally be around 4-6 questions questions on the ACT that deal with trigonometry (the official ACT guidelines say that trigonometry problems make up 7% of the test). They may seem complicated at first glance, but most of them boil down to a few simple concepts.

This article will be your comprehensive guide to the trigonometry you’ll need to know for the ACT. We’ll take you through the meaning of trigonometry, the formulas and understandings you’ll need to know, and how to tackle some of the most difficult ACT trig problems.

Sure, you've done your paces on single variable equations and now they're no problem, but what do you do when presented with multiple equations and multiple variables at once? These are what we call “systems of equations” and, luckily for us, they are extremely predictable types of problems with multiple methods for solving them. Depending on how you like to work best, you can basically choose your own adventure when it comes to system of equation problems.

But before you choose the method that suits you (or the individual problem) best, let's look at all the various options you have available as well as the types of questions you'll see come test day. These questions will always show up once or twice on any given test, so it's best to understand all the strategies you have at your disposal.

This will be your complete guide to systems of equations questions—what they are, the many different ways for solving them, and how you'll see them on the SAT.

The two biggest challenges of ACT Math are the time crunch—the math test has 60 questions in 60 minutes!—and the fact that the test doesn’t provide you with any formulas. All the formulas and math knowledge for the ACT comes from what you’ve learned and memorized.

In this complete list of critical formulas you'll need on the ACT, I'll lay out every formula you must have memorized before test day, as well as explanations for how to use them and what they mean. I'll also show you which formulas you should prioritize memorizing (the ones that are needed for multiple questions) and which ones you should memorize only when you've got everything else nailed down tight.

About 25% of your total SAT Math section will be word problems, meaning you will have to create your own visuals and equations to solve for your answers. Though the actual math topics can vary, SAT word problems share a few commonalities, and we’re here to walk you through how to best solve them.

This post will be your complete guide to SAT Math word problems. We'll cover how to translate word problems into equations and diagrams, the different types of math word problems you’ll see on the test, and how to go about solving your word problems on test day.

Everyone knows that, when guessing on a multiple-choice test, the best answer to choose is C...right? A friend of a friend swears by it, it’s served you well in the past (maybe?), and it’s become such a commonly known “fact,” such an undisputed strategy, that you may feel as if you were born knowing it—”when in doubt, pick C and move on.”

But does this time-honored tradition of picking C when in doubt actually work on the ACT? And if not, what can you do to improve your odds when guessing? Let’s look at the facts.

The SAT is designed to be taken by every high school student in the country, which means it can only test math concepts that every student has had experience with. The way the creators of the test make it hard is by presenting questions in unusual ways—ways that you never see in your math classes—and by putting you on a strict time crunch.

If you've ever started freaking out at the end of an SAT Math section, unsure how you're ever going to get through the entire section, you know exactly what we mean.

But don't despair! In this guide, we'll walk you through the timing of the test and teach you how to beat the clock and maximize your time on the SAT.

Though triangles are far and away the most common geometric shape on the SAT, make sure not to underestimate the importance of circles. You will generally come across 2-3 questions on circles on any given SAT, so it’s definitely in your best interest to understand the ins and outs of how they work. And this guide is here to show you the way.

This will be your complete guide to SAT circles, including areas, circumferences, degrees, arcs, and points on a circle. We’ll take you through what these terms mean, how to manipulate and solve for various aspects of a circle, and how to tackle the most difficult SAT circle questions you may see on test day.