# The ABCs of SAT Math

By now, you would think that I’d be able to calculate the score of my students’ practice exams in my head. However, the calculator is still my best friend. Many, like me, were scared when they heard that there is a non-calculator section on the new SAT. But after studying the new exam, there should be no fear. Below are some important things you need to know about the math questions on the new SAT:

1. The test is aligned with the Common Core

This means a lot of students will be preparing for the SAT in school without even knowing it! The Common Core algebra course that many 9th graders are enrolled in prepares them for this exam. Therefore, students should save their notes!

2. There are many word problems, almost all of which are different versions of y = mx + b (slope-intercept form)

Students must understand what each variable means, how to get each variable, and the relationship each variable has to one another (How do certain variables affect the others?). It’s easy to get lost in the wordy descriptions, so using a few seconds to take inventory of the information given is very important.

3. Focus on solving multistep problems

Multistep problems have several levels that students need to complete and build off of in order to get to the final answer. Students should be sure to know what is being asked, what they already know from the problem, and what they need to know in order to solve the question. The first variable they solve for will probably not be the final answer, but a component to use in the next step – so they shouldn’t jump the gun by marking it as the solution!

4. Students need to brush up on old skills for the non-calculator section

The non-calculator sections include things like long division and arithmetic problems with fractions and large numbers on which students can make careless errors. The calculator sections go up through trigonometry (SOH-CAH-TOA, radians measure, co-functions, etc.) and quadratics (vertex parabolas, etc.) to mimic the Common Core.