SAT Math Guidelines by Experienced English – (Sue Kim, John Cassidy, Philip Chen) Standard Multiple Choices: 1. Read the directions and questions well. Be sure to select the best answer (whether it is a variable, value, or expression) that is being asked for in each question. When a question contains a strange symbol, just substitute the accompanying definition when figuring out the best answer choice. 2. Learn in advance all of the critical definitions, formulas, and concepts that appear in common questions. Don’t count on the reference section of the test alone. 3. Remember to use the test booklet for scratch work, as well as for drawing and marking up keywords plus any diagrams/graphs. 4. Know when to use and when not to use a calculator: plan your approach to solving each problem. Also make sure you know your calculator well (don’t forget to check the batteries ☺) 5. Remember the order of difficulty for questions in each section: early questions in a particular section are easier, so answer them first and spend less time on them if possible. The questions generally get more difficult progressively (i.e., become harder toward the end of the section), so be sure to pace yourself accordingly. 6. Don't get carried away with detailed calculations. Look for a trick or a shortcut if the question seems time consuming (remember there may be more than one way to solve the same problem so try to be creative: like plugging in numbers or even working backwards). If you are stuck, try to use the process of elimination to cross out incorrect answers. In general, it is to your advantage to guess if you can eliminate two of the five choices. When guessing, first think carefully about the common trap answers that look right but is actually wrong (trap answers are more common in the difficult questions). Student Produced Response (GRID): 1. Guess if you cannot figure it out: there is no penalty for wrong answers here! 2. Negative numbers are not possible as answers in this section. If your answer comes up negative, do it again. 3. You may begin to enter a short answer in any column. For instance, .7 can be entered in columns 1-2, or 2-3, or 3-4. 4. If an answer is a repeating decimal (like .33333333), just enter as many decimals as will fit in the grid (.333). 5. You may enter an equivalent decimal for a fraction as your answer, but you might not want to waste time evaluating the fraction: enter the fraction and move on! 6. Do not try to enter mixed numbers. For example, if your answer is 1 ½, enter it as 1.5 or 3/2, but not as 1 1/2 because that will be misinterpreted as 11/2. Finally, the most important tip of all: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!