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Strategies for SAT- Quant

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July 2016

In addition to Problem Solving, Data Analysis and Geometry, the new redesigned SAT includes several questions from areas of Trigonometry and arithmetic of complex numbers. Some questions allow the use of a calculator; on others the use of calculator is not permitted.

Tips for Math Questions

  • Write down what you know and show your steps. Mark up diagrams, write equations, so you can re check your solution
  • Pay attention to the simple patterns in a problem. Trying to figure out these patterns is the key to the solution
  • Look for an easy way, by over calculating a simple math problem; you may miss out on a key factor that simplifies the problem.
  • Know your formulas, so you know where you need to use them
  • Check your work, go over your arithmetic and algebraic solutions to avoid careless mistakes
  • If you find yourself stuck on a particular math question, try working on the options or plug in numbers for the unknown
  • Ensure that you read the question properly, pay attention to words like integer, even, odd and consecutive as they are commonly overlooked. Make sure you don't confuse area with perimeter
  • Do not overuse your calculator. If you are using the calculator for a lot of problems, you're probably making it hard. Keep it simple, and only use the calculator as a check
  • Re-read your question before finalizing your answer. Make sure that you have answered the right question
  • Note any restrictions on the unknowns. For instance, whether it is a positive or a negative integer, a decimal or restriction on dimension. Underline key restrictions
  • Know the definitions of special terms such as primes, integers, factors, multiples, perimeter and so on
  • A product is the result of a multiplication. Do not confuse it with a sum, which is the result of addition
  • Break down complicated problems into simpler ones. If you are given a geometry diagram, mark up the angles and sides when you can find them. If given an algebraic expressions, notice how they relate to one another
  • Once you see parts of a problem, look for simple relationships between them
  • If you can't find what you need, look at one part of the problem at a time. Going through the problem step by step will eventually lead you to the answer
  • Simplify by substituting, in algebra, anything can be substituted for its equal. If you notice a complicated expression on the SAT, check to see if it equals something simpler and substitute
  • Simplify by combining and cancelling, in many algebraic expressions always keep a check on like terms that can be combined or cancelled and for common factors in fractions that can be cancelled
  • Check by estimating, an approximate answer can help you narrow down the choices quickly
  • Use logical solutions wherever possible. For e.g., patterns for indices, multiplication of numbers etc

 

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July 2016

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