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

Single Variable Equations on SAT Math: Complete Strategies

In a way, single variable equations are some of the most common and least common types of questions on the SAT math section. Why? Because it’s rare to find more than one or two single variable equations per test, and yet knowing how to solve and manipulate single variable equations is a basic requirement for solving most all SAT math questions.

Even though you won’t often see single variable equations by themselves, it is crucial that you know how to set up, use, and manipulate them. You cannot solve the more complex expressions like quadratics, multiple variables, and so on, without first understanding single variable equations.

This guide will be your complete walk-through of single variable equations for the SAT--what they are, how you’ll see them on the test, and how to set up and solve them.

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Polynomials on ACT Math: Complete Guide and Practice

Polynomial problems will show up in some way, shape, or form on the ACT two or three times per test. And since polynomials are so deeply connected to other ACT math topics, like operations and functions, it's even more important to take the time to understand them before test day.

Luckily, you probably know a lot more about polynomials than you think, and if you're currently rusty on the subject, just a little review will have you knocking out your polynomial questions left and right.

This will be your complete guide to polynomials on the ACT—what they are, how you'll see them on the test, and the best way to solve your polynomial problems before time is up.

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How You Can Take Advantage of ACT Math Question Order


Understanding how to do your best on the ACT math section means understanding how the math section is structured and where you can get the most points for your time and energy.

We’ll walk you through how each ACT math section is organized and how you can use this information to your benefit, both in your studies and as you take your official ACTs.

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ACT Math Word Problems: The Ultimate Guide

Though the majority of ACT math problems use diagrams or simply ask you to solve given mathematical equations, you will also see approximately 15-18 word problems on any given ACT (between 25% and 30% of the total math section). This means that knowing how best to deal with word problems will help you significantly when taking the test. Though there are many different types of ACT word problems, most of them are not nearly as difficult or cumbersome as they may appear.

This post will be your complete guide to ACT word problems: how to translate your word problems into equations and diagrams, the different types of word problems you’ll see on the test, and how best to go about solving your word problems for test day.

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The Complete Guide to Conic Sections on ACT Math

You will usually see one conic section question (though no more than one) on any given ACT, but just what is a conic section and how do you solve it? Luckily for us, though conic section questions are rare, they are generally straightforward and can get you an easy point if you take a few minutes to study them.

This will be your complete guide to conic sections—what they are, how you'll see them on the test, and the best way to approach these types of ACT math questions.

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How to Guess Strategically on ACT Math

The ACT allows for guessing without penalty (no negative points here!), but how can you turn guessing into the best strategy to maximize your ACT math score? The more you can increase your guessing odds, the better off you’ll be. And we’re here to show you how.

We’ll go through when and how to guess strategically on the ACT math section as well as show you examples of how to guess most effectively in action.

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How You'll Get Stuck in SAT/ACT Math Questions, and What to Do About It

So you’ve been staring at one math problem for what feels like forever, or maybe you’ve gone through your solve and none of the answer choices match what you found. Or maybe you just feel like somewhere along the way you made a huge mistake….

Well, never fear! Right now you might be stuck on a math problem, but we’ve all been there and there is always a way to recover. We’ll walk you through both how to recognize when you’re stuck (it’s not always obvious until too late) and what to do about it when it happens.

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How to Get the Most Out of SAT Math Practice Questions

You’ve lined up all your SAT math study material, but now how do you use these questions to their best effect? Getting the materials to study is only half the battle—making an effective study plan and knowing how to best execute it is the second, crucial step.

We’ve put together a comprehensive plan on how to make use of the study materials you have at hand. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to best use your math practice problems and how to make the best study plan possible to boost your SAT math score.

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SAT vs ACT Math: Which Is Easier?

If you put to a vote whether the ACT Math test or the SAT Math test is easier, there's going to be heavy contention on both sides. Some will swear up and down (and sideways) that the SAT Math section is easier. Others will not be moved by any force in the world away from the position that the ACT Math section is the simpler one.

But which faction is right? And more importantly, which test should you take? We’ve broken down the ins and outs of each math test to tell you which is easier, depending on the type of test taker and math student you are.

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How to Get the Most Out of ACT Math Practice Questions

Now that you’ve gathered together all your ACT math study materials, it’s time to put together a plan of attack. Having the right study materials is key, but understanding how to use them to their best effect is just as important. (What good is a tool wielded improperly, after all?)

We’ve put together a comprehensive plan on how to make use of your ACT math study materials and boost your math score. We’ll walk you through how to best use your math practice problems and how to make the best study plan possible to prepare yourself for test day.

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How to Actually Use Your SAT Math Formulas

On average, you’ll need to use an SAT math formula once every four to five questions. This accounts for approximately 20-25% of the combined math sections, which means it is crucial that you understand how and when to employ your formulas on the SAT.

We’ve put together the list of your need-to-know SAT formulas (prioritized in the order from greatest to least that you’ll see them on the SAT) as well as how to best use them for test-day.

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Coordinate Geometry and Points on SAT Math: Complete Guide

Coordinate geometry is one of the heavy-hitter topics on the SAT, and you'll need to be able to maneuver your way through its many facets in order to take on the variety of questions you'll see on the test. Luckily, though, coordinate geometry is not difficult to visualize or wrap your head around once you know the basics. And we are here to show you how.

There will usually be two questions on any given SAT that involve points alone, and another 2-3 questions that will involve lines and slopes and/or rotations, reflections, or translations. This makes up a significant portion of your SAT math section, so it is a good idea to understand the ins and outs of coordinate geometry before you tackle the test.

This will be your complete guide to points and the building blocks for coordinate geometry—how to find and manipulate points, distances, and midpoints, as well as strategies for solving these types of questions on test day.

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Triangles on ACT Math: Geometry Guide and Practice Problems

If you thought the ACT was a big fan of circles, then brace yourself for its absolutely shameless love of triangles. In one breath, you may be expected to find the various dimensions of an obtuse triangle, and the next, an isosceles right triangle. ACT triangle problems will be as numerous as they are varied, so make sure you familiarize yourself with all the different types before test day.

This will be your complete guide to ACT triangles--the types of triangles that will show up on the ACT, the formulas you’ll need to know to solve them, and the strategies you’ll need to apply when approaching a triangle question. We’ll also break down real ACT math problems and give you the walk-throughs on how to most efficiently and effectively tackle any and all triangle problems you come up against.

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Reflections, Translations, and Rotations on SAT Math: Coordinate Geometry Guide

If it's always been a dream of yours to shift around graphs and points on the $x$ and $y$ axes (and why not?), then you are in luck! Points, graphs, and shapes can be manipulated in the coordinate plane to your heart's content. Want to scoot that triangle a little to the left? Flip it? Spin it? With reflections, rotations, and translations, a lot is possible.

This will be your complete guide to rotations, reflections, and translations of points, shapes, and graphs on the SAT—what these terms mean, the types of questions you'll see on the test, and the tips and formulas you'll need to solve these questions in no time.

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Systems of Equations on ACT Math: Algebra Strategies and Practice Problems

If you’ve already tackled your single variable equations, then get ready for systems of equations. Multiple variables! Multiple equations! (Whoo!) Even better, systems of equations questions will always have multiple methods with which to solve them, depending on how you like to work best.

So let us look not only at how systems of equations work, but all the various options you have available to solve them.

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 ACT.

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