The Math section of the SAT in Danville is the most agonizing for many students, but they don’t always have to feel that way. Like in many SAT sections, all it takes is good strategies and tips to get the Math score you desire.
Understanding the problem and the key math formulas (and knowing how to apply them) is the first step to effectively solving the items on the SAT Math section. Another step is to gain familiarity with what the test actually covers; after all, you wouldn’t want to waste your study time on a topic that you’re not familiar with and that won’t be on the test. This will help you to manage your time better when you arrive at the testing center, as Math has a time limit just like the other sections.
It is better if you have taken the SAT (or SAT Junior) test before. Imagine your Math scores fell below your expectations (600 and below); it gives you the opportunity to look at areas that you need to strengthen and employ newer strategies in order to boost your Math score when you take the SAT again. Even if you scored well on the Math section the first time around, but you want to get the perfect 800, this guide will help you further improve your Math scores.
If you have not taken an official test yet, you may want to consider taking an official SAT Math practice test developed by the College Board itself — and it’s free! This will help you to become familiarized with the format and will show you how may store when you take the real test. The Internet abounds with a wealth of information and sources, so apart from the official SAT Math practice test, you can also find other SAT Math problems that are also available online.
Anyway, you need to have a good idea where to start. More importantly, you also need to identify your strengths and weaknesses before you can really delve into studying the materials.
The new SAT Math mainly focuses on algebra, problem-solving, a passport to advanced math, and data interpretation and analysis. Geometry and trigonometry will only cover about 10% of the section. Make sure that you study all of these content areas diligently — yes, even less common ones like geometry.
Memorize the formulas, even the ones that are given to you; they will be your most helpful tool come test day. On test day, scribble down the formulas on the scratch paper or test book provided to you. Write them down before you start the test in case you think you may forget some portion of them. However, don’t panic in case you forget some of the formulas you’ve memorized because there are other ways and strategies to solve SAT Math questions.
If you’re more of a visual learner, prepare a set of flash cards with the formulas printed on them. If you’re more of a physical (kinesthetic) learner, start practicing it by drawing or writing the formulas on individual pieces of paper. You may feel you need someone to help you out on your SAT Math quest. Ask a parent, guardian, relative, or a friend help you memorize the formulas.
Once you think you’ve got all the formulas in your head, practice by applying them to actual SAT-level questions. It is different when you’re trying to solve a problem when you’re not looking up at the formulas written in your practice book or flash cards. In this way, you will be able to determine which of the formulas you’ve memorized you will actually be able to use. Keep on practicing until you get it right — along the way, you will feel more confident in answering Math problems by yourself without looking up at the formulas.
Sometimes you will ask yourself how necessary some formulas can be before you actually memorize and study them. There are some formulas that turn up over and over again. There are also a few other formulas that show up only once in a blue moon. That’s why it is important to prioritize learning the most critical formulas such as the following (roughly in this order):
- Law: the number of degrees in a triangle is 180
- Area of a triangle
- Area of a rectangle
- Pythagorean Theorem
- Slope equation
- Percentage and percent change
- Law: the number of degrees in a circle is 360
- Circumference of a circle
- Average = (sum or total / number of things)
- Law: the number of radians in a circle is 2π
- Midpoint of a line
- Volume of a rectangular solid
- Volume of a cylinder
- Volume of a sphere
- Volume of a cone
- Volume of a pyramid
On test day, avoid making careless and unnecessary mistakes by answering at your own pace. Take as much time as you can in answering each question, but don’t get stuck on it as it will mean losing precious time for answering the remaining questions. It’s better to answer the easy items first, then go over the section again and answer all the other items as long as there is still time left.
The good news is that the new SAT in Danville does not penalize wrong answers. So if you have still some time left, then the only alternative is to use your best guessing strategy and hope that your answer choices are correct.