# Working Backwards

The SAT and ACT are both long, exhausting exams that test your stamina just as much as they test your knowledge and test taking abilities. To do well on these tests, it’s important to learn strategies that can not only save time, but also save brain power. On the math sections, if you find yourself stuck on how to solve a particular problem, the Working Backwards method may help. Working Backwards is a key math strategy that takes the hard work and thinking out of the exams. You will find that it is often simpler to substitute the answer choices back into the problem rather than solving the given equation. Let the tests do the work for you by using the answers they provide and plugging these numbers back into the original problem.

Below is everything you need to know about the Working Backwards strategy:

• Use this strategy when you see variables in the problem and numbers in the answer choices.
• Plug the answer choices back into the problem.
• Start with the MIDDLE number. The answer choices always go in numerical order. By starting with the middle number, you will save time by eliminating half of the answer choices right away! After plugging in the middle number, you will see whether you need a larger or smaller number as your answer.

Working with this strategy allows you to use the tests’ multiple choice format to your advantage. One of the answers they provide you has to be right, so why not borrow one of their answers instead of coming up with your own? Work with the test instead of against it and you’ll no longer find yourself struggling to come up with the correct response!