When To Use a Calculator

Use a calculator under these situations:

1. When working with very large numbers

2. When working with decimals

3. When solving a difficult graphing or function question.

4. After setting up the problem correctly with your pencil, use your calculator to solve whatever equation, ratio or matrix you have scribbled on the page.

Do not use your calculator as the primary source for solving math problems.  It cannot think for you. Use your calculator at the end of the solution not the beginning.  Use your calculator to check for arithmetic errors and to confirm what you already know.

Perfectionists Need Not Try The SAT!

While perfectionism may be a great trait in sports, on the job and in life, do not try to be perfect on the SAT.  Only a very small percentage of all test takers will ever achieve the elusive 2400 score.  For the rest of us, our mission is not to be perfect, but to answer as many questions correctly and in a timely manner without getting bogged down on an impossible question.

The SAT is a moderately timed test, you must work at an average pace.  You do not need to be a speed reader, but you cannot stare at the page for several minutes either.  For math, you do not have to solve every problem in 10 seconds, but you cannot spend 5 minutes calculating and crossing out, calculating and crossing out, etc., etc.

Perfectionists are loath to omit a question for fear they are giving up.  Trust us, your life will not change and you will still get into a great university if you get over your perfectionism and learn to strategically omit the impossible questions.

Eliminate Before You Calculate!

In this fast paced, video game, text messaged world, the desire for instant
gratification has never been greater. I have witnessed many students fall into
this speed trap, especially when it comes to answering the Math SAT questions.
The need for speed often leads to misread questions, sloppy set ups and silly

Important Tip:

Before coming up with the answer, read the question as many times as necessary, until it is
fully understood. Next, eliminate the obvious incorrect answers. For example–if the
answer calls for a positive slope, eliminate the answers with negative slopes;
if the answer must be less than 90 degrees, get rid of all those answers greater
than 90 degrees. This method allows you to enjoy more accurate calculations
while avoiding the “sucker answers” which are designed to catch the careless
speed demons

How Do I Solve an SAT Math Problem?

Many times there will be multiple methods for solving a given SAT Math problem. Which way is best?  The fastest way.

The SAT is a multiple choice test (for the most part). There is no partial credit for the math problems. You either know the answer or not. The math sections are also time sensitive. In a typical math section you will only have 25 minutes to answer 24 questions. There is no time to ponder, there is only time to act.

How does a student confidently deal with this pressure? By tackling every possible question type from any practice test he or she has. After all, if you have seen every type of math question, they can’t fool you!