The math content tested on the digital SAT is very similar to that on the old SAT. However, there are some significant changes, including the availability of a Desmos calculator for all questions and an increased emphasis on short but challenging algebra questions that often depend on small details.
Here are 7 simple tips to help you be more strategic in how you approach Math questions on the digital SAT:
- The answers are part of the question – determine what the end result should be: an equation, a single number, a set of numbers, or an open response. Keep this in mind as you work, and ask if you can use your answers to make your work easier or to figure out how to get started.
- Ask: Can I just use Desmos? Many questions, especially those that include equations, can be solved by using the Desmos calculator. If you’re stuck, stop and check to see if Desmos can make the problem easier.
- Show your work by drawing diagrams or writing down the given information on scrap paper. This is especially important for word problems and geometry problems. When you have lots of operations, make sure to do them one step at a time so that you are less likely to make mistakes and you can easily check your work if necessary.
- Plug it in! Many Qs can be solved by either plugging coordinates into equations or testing out answer choices. Always be on the lookout for (x,y) coordinates that can be substituted into equations
- Make assumptions. If you’re stuck and you want to make an assumption but you’re hesitating because you are not 100% certain, go for it!
- Be careful with signs and distribution. Errors with signs and distribution are the most common mistakes students make on the SAT. Take your time with each step of an equation, and double check your signs just to make sure you didn’t make a careless error.
- Remember: it’s a reading section. The Math section is also a reading section – make sure you answer the question in its entirety. If the question is really long, break it into individual sentences and write down each piece of mathematical information you’re given.