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Beating the New SAT Math Section

By now, you are more than likely aware that the SAT made some critical changes. A big focus has been put on the Reading and Writing Section, but be sure not to forget about Math. Although the changes in the Math section are fewer, understanding the changes and adjusting the way you study accordingly is still critical to your success.

#1  Watch the practice tests that you use while preparing.  

Looking for a SAT Math Practice Test online is usually one of the first steps students take to start studying, along with other subjects.

On the new SAT- you can no longer use the calculator on the entire test. In order to ensure you’re preparing correctly, you’ll want to use a newer SAT Math Practice Test that will allow you to practice not using a calculator on the questions that the new SAT Test will not allow you to do so with.

Practice the skills that you will be required to do  without a calculator which include: 

  • Simple math (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division)
  • Simplifying single equations or phrases (using the FOIL method)
  • Solving a system of two equations
  • Knowing square roots (or being able to find a square root by multiplying)
  • Being familiar with powers (and how to reconfigure powers)

#2 Focus a little less on Geometry

The new SAT has decreased the Geometry portion from up to 35% of the Math section to just 10%.

#3 Focus a little more on Algebra

Algebra is now more than 50% of the Math section. So it is more than worth it to make sure you really sharpen your skills in Algebra.

#4 Introduce yourself to Modeling

The SAT now has an area that is called Modeling, in which you will be asked to explain different parts of a Model.  In order to learn how to solve these type of questions- learn how to analyze. These type of questions will not be about solving the correct answer.  It will actually be about seeing how you “read” or “analyze” the information provided.

#5 Include Trigonometry in your Study Plan

The new SAT now includes Trigonometry, which will account for 5% of the test. Focus on sine and cosine, but make sure you know the basic trigonometry equations.

There will also be 1-3 new questions that ask you to solve for “i” on the test. You should treat these questions like any other question asking you to solve a Math Problem. Familiarize yourself with these types of questions and in the study portion of your plan that you allocate to Trigonometry, due to the low amount of questions these two areas represent on the test.

Obviously- the best way to prepare is to practice. But not just any practice, be sure to sign up for structured practice that simulates the real test environment and timing.  We recommend finding a SAT mock test, such as the free events TC Tech Prep provides.



May 5, 2016

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