SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

The New SAT Math: What's Changing?

Posted by Dora Seigel | Feb 27, 2016 9:00:00 AM

SAT Math, New SAT

Starting in March 2016, there will be a newly redesigned SAT. The new SAT only has two sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math.

While most people are focused on the changes to the Reading and Writing section, there have been a few changes to the SAT Math section that are important to know. What are these changes? How will your SAT study strategy need to change? I'll delve into that and more in this guide.

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Single Variable Equations on SAT Math: Complete Strategies

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Feb 20, 2016 8:30:00 AM

SAT Math

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

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Nov 10, 2015 8:00:00 AM

ACT Math, SAT Math

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

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Nov 9, 2015 12:00:00 PM

SAT Math

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 battlemaking 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?

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Nov 8, 2015 6:30:00 PM

SAT versus ACT, ACT Math, SAT Math

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 Actually Use Your SAT Math Formulas

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Oct 10, 2015 1:00:00 PM

SAT Math

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

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Oct 3, 2015 1:30:00 PM

SAT Math

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

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Sep 19, 2015 7:00:00 PM

SAT Math

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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Sequences on SAT Math: Complete Strategy and Review

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Aug 12, 2015 6:41:00 PM

SAT Math

A series of numbers that follows a particular pattern is called a sequence. Sometimes, each new term is found by adding or subtracting a certain constant, sometimes by multiplying or dividing. So long as the pattern is the same for every new term, the numbers are said to lie in a sequence.

Sequence questions will have multiple moving parts and pieces, and you will always have several different options to choose from in order to solve the problem. We’ll walk through all the methods for solving sequence questions, as well as the pros and cons for each. You will likely see two sequence questions on any given SAT, so keep this in mind as you find your perfect balance between time strategies and memorization.

This will be your complete guide to SAT sequence problems--the types of sequences you’ll see, the typical sequence questions that appear on the SAT, and the best ways to solve these types of problems for your particular SAT test taking strategies.

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Triangles and Polygons on SAT Math: Strategies and Practice Questions for Geometry

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Aug 9, 2015 6:53:00 PM

SAT Math

25 to 30% of the SAT math section will involve geometry, and the majority of those questions will deal with polygons in some form or another. Polygons come in many shapes and sizes and you will have to know your way around them with confidence in order to ace those SAT questions on test day.

Luckily, despite their variety, polygons are often less complex than they look, and a few simple rules and strategies will have you breezing through those geometry questions in no time.

This will be your complete guide to SAT polygons—the rules and formulas for various polygons, the kinds of questions you’ll be asked about them, and the best approach for solving these types of questions.

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Lines and Angles in SAT Math: Prep and Review

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Jul 29, 2015 12:00:00 PM

SAT Math

Knowing your lines and angles is crucial for mastering SAT and is one of the foundational steps of geometry. Before you can tackle some of the more complex multi-shape problems that often appear towards the end of the test, you'll need to know just how to solve for all your missing angle measures. 

Almost without fail, there will be exactly two problems on any given SAT on lines and angles (note: these problems are distinct from questions on lines and slopes). Though this is a small percentage of the test in and of itself, line and angle knowledge provides the backbone for other geometry problems and so should be ranked high on your studying priorities. 

This will be your complete guide to lines and angles on the SAT—what they are, how you'll see them on the test, and how to solve these types of questions to maximize your points on test day.

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Plugging in Numbers: A Critical SAT/ACT Math Strategy

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Jul 14, 2015 9:00:00 AM

ACT Math, SAT Math

As we mentioned in our math strategy article on plugging in answers, neither the SAT nor the ACT measures how you arrived at your answer. On standardized tests, all that matters is whether your answer is correct or not. There is no such thing as partial credit on a standardized test and no one is looking over your shoulder to see if you solved the question the “proper” way.

This means that finding the right answer--no matter the process--is the only thing that matters. And there are plenty of short-cut techniques you can use to find that correct answer without the need to create and solve complex equations. This guide will take you through the strategy of plugging in your own numbers, one of simplest processes for working out the answers to several different kinds of standardized math questions.

In this guide, we’ll give you a complete walk through on the strategy of plugging your own numbers (PIN) for math questions. We’ll go through the whys, hows, and, most importantly,  whens of using PIN your standardized test(s), as well as take you through several real SAT and ACT practice problems. The other best strategy for working around problems--plugging in the answers--is covered in a separate guide.  

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Plugging in Answers: A Critical SAT Math/ACT Math Strategy

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Jul 4, 2015 9:00:00 AM

ACT Math, SAT Math

The benefits to standardized testing are two-fold: almost all of the questions are multiple choice, and you do not have to show your work. Why are these benefits to you? Unlike in your math classes, where it is crucial to show your work in order to prove that you know how to solve problems, neither the SAT nor the ACT cares about how you got to your solution. All standardized tests measure is whether or not you have the correct answer.

This means that finding the right answer—no matter the process—is your only goal. There is no such thing as partial credit on standardized testing, but there are plenty of workarounds that can help you to find the correct answer without making you do overly complicated math. This guide will take you through one of simplest processes for working out the answers to several different kinds of standardized math questions—plugging in the answer choices.

In this guide, we'll give you a complete walk through on the strategy of plugging in the answers (PIA)—why use it, how to use it, and when to use it on your standardized test(s). The other best strategy for working around problems—plugging in your own numbers—is covered in a separate guide.

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Complete Guide to Integers on SAT Math (Advanced)

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Jul 2, 2015 4:30:00 PM

SAT Math

Integer questions are some of the most common on the SAT, so understanding what integers are and how they operate will be crucial for solving many SAT math questions. Knowing your integers can make the difference between a score you’re proud of and one that needs improvement.

In our basic guide to integers on the SAT (which you should review before you continue with this one), we covered what integers are and how they are manipulated to get even or odd, positive or negative results. In this guide, we will cover the more advanced integer concepts you’ll need to know for the SAT.

This will be your complete guide to advanced SAT integers, including consecutive numbers, primes, absolute values, remainders, exponents, and roots—what they mean, as well as how to handle the more difficult integer questions the SAT can throw at you.

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The Basic Guide to Integers on SAT Math

Posted by Courtney Montgomery | Jun 23, 2015 11:00:00 AM

SAT Math

Many SAT math questions involve the use of integers, especially in the early and middle ranges of each math section. This means that integers are a foundational element to SAT math and you should have a solid understanding of what integers are and how they work if you want to do well on the SAT math section.

This guide will cover the basics of integers—what they are, how they relate to one another, and how you’ll see them on the test. For the more advanced integer concepts (including prime numbers, absolute values, exponents, and roots), check out our advanced guide to SAT integers.

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