# 15 SAT Math Tips & Tricks – Strategies For A High Score In 2023

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## Applying the right math tips and tricks for SAT

Before diving into the SAT math tips, let’s make sure we understand the format of the SAT math sections. Knowing the structure and how much time you have on each question will give you a general idea of which SAT math tricks or strategies to use. Applying the right math tips and tricks for SAT will help maximize your potential score!

### Math (No Calculator) Section

**20 questions (15 multiple choice and 5 grid-in)**

**You have 75 seconds on average to spend on each question**

**The first 15 questions are multiple-choice. The level of difficulty increases from easy to hard, meaning 12-15 would be the most challenging.**

**Questions 16-20 are grid-ins. You are required to provide a numerical answer. The level of difficulty increases from easy to hard.**

**Be prepared for the most difficult problems to come right before the grid-in section**

### Math (Calculator) Section

**38 questions (30 multiple choice and 8 grid-in)**

**You have 86 seconds on average to spend on each question**

**The first 30 questions are multiple-choice. The level of difficulty increases from easy to hard, meaning 25-30 would be the most challenging.**

**Questions 31-38 are grid-ins. You are required to provide a numerical answer. The level of difficulty increases from easy to hard.**

**Be prepared for the most difficult problems to come right before the grid-in section**

Also, just knowing the SAT math tips and tricks alone may not be enough to score well on the test. Remember practice makes perfect! Doing more SAT math practice will help you get more familiar with different question types. This also gives you the opportunity to try out these SAT math tricks and decide which one is best to use.

**Tip #1**

*Use Time wisely.*

Timing is very important. In general, you should spend less time on the easy ones and save more time on the harder ones.

Prioritize the questions that are easy to medium. If you’re stuck on a difficult question, make your best guess and move on.

All questions are valued equally on the SAT, so give your time and attention to the questions that you are more likely to answer correctly.

## Tip #2

*Look for shortcuts!*

Scan through your answer choices first. Have an idea of what you are asked to do (i.e. variable manipulating, solving for numerical values, writing equations, etc.)

When applicable, backsolve using one of the answer choices to plug in to see if it works.

Pick a number to plug into the variable. Now an algebra equation is simply an arithmetic equation.

**Tip #**3

*When plugging in the answer choices, start with C*

Planning to use the plugging in method? The SAT answer options are always ascending from least to greatest. Start by plugging in C.

If C is incorrect, and you know the answer has to be bigger, eliminate A and B

If C is incorrect, and you know the answer has to be smaller, eliminate D

## Tip #4

*Learn to spot the easy questions on the SAT test*

The level of difficulty builds up as you progress through the test. However, this is not a steady progression. Also, every high school student is different, so what one student finds difficult, you might in fact find quite simple.

Be mindful that the first 10 questions will likely be easier than the last 10. So budget your time accordingly.

## Tip #5

*Learn to spot the hard sat math problems*

There is a small ‘reset’ of difficulty level at the end of the multiple-choice questions and before the start of the grid-in questions.

This means that the most difficult questions usually come right in the middle of the test.

The difficulty usually peaks in the last few questions of the multiple-choice questions and many students waste precious time here. It might be a better option to skip ahead and get a few of the easier grid questions out of the way.

## Tip #6

*Familiarize yourself with the ways the SAT may try to trick you*

The difficulty of the SAT Math question may be a good indicator of whether or not to approach extra cautiously.

Most earlier questions should be relatively straightforward and you can trust that if you have arrived at an answer that is a choice, it is most likely correct.

For later, more difficult questions, approach with caution. Rather than bubbling in right away, take a moment to consider how you arrived at your answer.

When taking the practice tests, be mindful and write down the type of traps you tend to fall for. This could help you recognize them on the test day.

**Tip #**7

*Don’t just memorize! Make sure you understand how to use the math formulas*

Just knowing the formula alone would not be enough. Knowing how to use it and when to apply those formulas are essential to scoring well on the SAT Math portion

How can you get to the correct answer without knowing exactly what the question is asking for? Treat the math terms like any other English vocabulary list.

Review the terms and definitions. Check off the ones that you know. Flashcards are a great way to study math vocabulary. Take a look at our SAT Math Cheat Sheet and make sure you know how to apply them

## Tip #8

*Review math terminologies *

How can you get to the correct answer without knowing exactly what the question is asking for? Treat the math terms like any other English vocabulary list.

Review the terms and definitions. Check off the ones that you know. Flashcards are a great way to study math vocabulary.

For later, more difficult questions, approach with caution. Rather than bubbling in right away, take a moment to consider how you arrived at your answer.

When taking the practice tests, be mindful and write down the type of traps you tend to fall for. This could help you recognize them on the test day.

**Tip #**9

*Timing is important, but it isn’t everything!*

It is easy to fall into the trap of paying too much attention to the time. The SAT is indeed a timed test, but agonizing over how many seconds you take on each question will do more harm than good.

If you’re stuck, guess and move on. Don’t become distracted by how long you’re likely spending on a difficult question.

## Tip #10

*If you don’t know, don’t waste your time on it *

It’s not uncommon to come across SAT math concepts that you simply don’t remember or have never encountered before. Don’t panic, and don’t waste your time. Make the best guess you can and move on.

Remember, all questions are valued equally! You will have a better chance on the next questions.

**Tip #**11

*How to deal with long word problems*

These questions are long and hard to comprehend. The key is to break the question down into smaller pieces of information. Underline what information is given to you, and know what you need to solve for.

Highlight any numerical values, variables (ie.* k, t, x, y,* etc.), and the relationship between them.

Not all information is important to finding the solution.

Identify what category the question falls under (i.e. linear, percent, ratio, etc.) and solve using the applicable strategy.

## Tip #12

*Use your graphing calculator to your advantage*

Your graphing calculator is actually very powerful. In the calculator section, you can use it to solve quadratic equations and systems of linear equations without performing any algebraic operations

Make sure to practice and get familiar with your calculator before the test day

Make sure to charge your battery before the test day

**Tip #**13

*The calculator is not needed for everything!*

Using the calculator for questions that don’t require a calculator can actually slow you down. It is sometimes more important to know when NOT to use the calculator.

Just because it is the ‘Calculator Section’ does not mean you HAVE to use the calculator to solve.

## Tip #14

*There are questions that will waste your time! *

The SAT will purposely include problems that will require either many long steps that will take a lot of time to solve or a quick shortcut. If you cannot see the shortcut for a problem or don’t know how to solve it quickly, your best option is to skip or mark and move on.

You might be tempted to think that knowing the complex solution method is an indicator you’re on the right track. In reality, skipping or marking and moving on will probably be your best bet.

**Tip #**15

*Do NOT apply the same SAT math tricks for multiple-choice to the grid-in questions.*

The difficulty level resets in the grid-in section, with easier questions at the start of the section and harder questions toward the end. Remember this when approaching the section.

For questions with ‘one possible answer’, think about why there are multiple possible answers. If you arrive at a single answer solution, double check!

Start with an educated estimate when guessing. Make sure your guess actually makes sense.

**How to get 800 on SAT MATH**?

Are you confident in your content knowledge, but are finding yourself hitting a wall with your SAT Math score? Are you doing well, but find yourself unable to break the 600-750 score range? If you want to raise your score to the perfect 800, it is not impossible!

It should come as no surprise that scoring 800 on the SAT Math section is no easy feat. That is not to say it is out of your reach. With some extra help, MathTowne can definitely get you to perfection, or at the very least, very close to it.

### Get help from a tutor or mentor

Tutored students often outperform students who have only used reference books or studied on their own. Some experienced guidance may be all you need to push you over the edge.

More often than not, it is not even a case of subject mastery, but understanding the test itself. Be sure to look into test-taking strategies or discuss them with your tutors to increase your performance.

**Frequently Asked Questions**

**Frequently Asked Questions**

Do I need a graphing calculator for SAT math?

While it is perfectly fine to use a scientific calculator or any other that you prefer, it is our recommendation that you use a graphing calculator on the SAT and ACT. There are numerous benefits to using a graphing calculator.

Being able to see the graph as you plug it in is a great help during the test. Most graphing calculators such as TI-83, TI-84 can solve quadratic equations, polynomials, and systems of equations. Learning to use your graphing calculator will help boost both your speed and accuracy.

Can I take only the math portion of the SAT?

No, choosing to take only one section of the SAT is not an option. However, something to keep in mind is that some schools do take the ‘superscore’ into consideration. This is the composite of your best scores from all the SAT you’ve taken.

For example, if in 2021, you score a 600 on math and a 750 on reading/writing, but in 2022 you scored 750 in math and a 700 in reading/writing, your super score is 1500. This means there is an added benefit to taking the test more than once. So while you can’t take a section by itself, you can definitely take the entire test more than once to try and improve a particular section.

What’s the SAT math section average score?

The average score of any section ranges from year to year. A ‘good’ average to aim for math is 600 out of the perfect 800. Scoring a 600 in the math section would put you right about the 75th percentile which is perfectly fine and should allow admission to a majority of universities around the nation. For the class of 2022, the average score for the math section was 521.

How do I improve my speed on the SAT math portion?

To improve speed, make sure you know and understand the concepts first. Try the test without any time constraints to give yourself a better idea about which concepts you know and which you still need to review. Without the time constraints, you can be sure that the concept questions missed are due to lack of knowledge rather than lack of time.

Once you are relatively confident in your concept knowledge, you could start introducing timed tests into your practices.

The worst thing you can do is to overthink and waste time. Maintaining speed is important, so just bubble and move on. Mark the questions you would like to review. If you have extra time at the end, you can return to the marked questions.

Other test-taking techniques such as back-solving, elimination, or utilizing a graphing calculator to your advantage can also boost your time significantly.

## WHAT IS MY SAT MATH SCORE?

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