Calculators are allowed in SAT 2

The redesigned SAT math questions are divided into two sections: allows a calculator and has 37 questions, and one that does not allow a calculator and has 20 questions. Question 37 of the calculator section is a longer, more difficult question, and has a score of 4 points, for a total reduction score of 60 for the math. You'll do well - even if you keep these points in mind:

  • Regardless of whether you are in the calculator section or in the non-calculator section, the actual task is simple. The questions are logic based, so if you find yourself doing a lot of math, stop what you are doing and take another look. There is always a trick or pattern that will allow you to thwart the argument and find the answer quickly. If you don't see it, circle the question number and come back to it later.

  • Not ever gets stuck on a question. This is a tendency that carries students away from working the question at home with unlimited time and determination to master the topic. It's okay at home. It's a fatal mistake on the SAT. The exam gives you just over a minute per question (75 seconds to be exact, assuming the 4-point question is longer). If you spend five minutes on a question, you probably won't get through to the five questions in the end. And these questions could be easy for you! Instead, take a guess, circle the sticky question in the test booklet, and come back to it at the end.

  • Get rid of the calculator. You'll need to do this for one of the math sections anyway, but you won't be using the calculator for simple math on the other section. Not only is it easy to make a simple mistake, but you don't get any sense of how the question works. The questions are based on logic, not math, and the calculator will prevent you from finding the trick or pattern that will help you solve the problem easily.

  • Scan the page to answer the simplest question. Nobody says you have to fix the questions. With the test booklet open in front of you, look at either a full page or two of math problems. Hop around! Is the triangle question easy? Work it first! Then cross off the question number in the exam brochure. Does the exponent question make sense? Work it next! Then tick off this question number as well. Does the square root question look like a challenge? Circle it and guess an answer. When all of the question numbers are crossed out or circled, proceed to the next page. When you get to the end of the section go back and edit any circled questions; you know enough to check the question number on the answer sheet, so blowing the wrong answer isn't a problem (although that can happen even if you answer the questions in the correct order).

  • Practice working under pressure. Consider whether you can answer two pages (about eight questions) correctly in ten minutes. That way, the print on exam day isn't that new. Practice the tricks to answer the questions. Make a habit of circling a difficult question instead of forcing yourself. Also, try out the strategies that you will use on the test day, including the bounce-around strategy explained in the previous point. Make sure it works for you and see if you can come up with your own twist to make it work better.

  • SAT math is designed to intimidate you, but there isn't anything in the exam that isn't covered in elementary school math.