About the SAT What is it? Reasoning and problem-solving test which colleges use as an alignment tool with how well you will do in college. This along with teacher recommendations and your high school records are key factors for you to get in to college. Not a measure of your ambition, desire, motivation, perseverance, courage, character, creativity…etc. What is on it? There are 10 sections on the SAT. 1)Three math sections 2) three critical reading sections 3) three writing section 4) One experimental section The math sections Section 1: 25 minutes to complete 20 multiple choice questions Section 2: 25 minutes to complete 8 multiple choice questions and 10 student produced questions. Section 3: 20 minutes to complete 16 multiple choice questions. Range of score: 200-800 points Calculators Calculators should absolutely be used but try to not over use them. Unnecessary time spent with the calculator can take up some precious time. The two types of questions Multiple choiceThe 44 multiple choice questions consist of 5 choices. You must use your best judgment to eliminate any answers that are, for lack of a better term, “nonsense.” Some answers come from the many errors students make on the type of problem however, so BE CAREFUL! Student produced Open-ended questions which involve filling your answer in a grid. You can input fractions, decimals, or whole numbers into the grid. Machine is programmed to recognize all correct answers. There are four columns that can be used, but unused should be left blank. Answers in the boxes are not scored; they are just there to help you fill in the ovals. No need to reduce fractions unless they do not fit grid. Furthermore, mixed numbers should not be inserted into the grid. Repeating decimals must use entire grid and do not include a leading zero for decimals. No need to worry about negative answers or percent symbols. To guess or not to guess? That is a good question For each correct answer you will achieve 1 point to your “raw score.” For each incorrect answer, you will lose onequarter of a point. If you can narrow it down to 2 choices, it may be wise to guess. Student produced questions are only beneficiary, so be sure to guess. However, DO NOT try wild guessing. Ten strategies to solving SAT problems: 1) Sub-in -plug in values that are familiar and/or easy to work with. For example: Of the U.S. Olympians who get a medal, three-fourths get a silver medal, and one-fifth of the remaining get a bronze, what fraction get a gold medal? If we use a number we are familiar like 100. So, we are saying if there are 100 Americans who get a medal… Three-fourths get a silver - 3/4 of 100 = 75 One-fifth of the remaining 25 get a bronze – 1/5 of 25 = 5 So 20 out of our 100 get a gold – 20/100 = 1/5 2: Backfill Backfill is basically plugging in the choices you get until one works. You will sometimes be given problems where this is an option. For example: The sum of 2 times a number and one-half a number is 7.5. In this case you are looking for a number that would solve the equation… 2x + .5x = 7.5 If it a multiple choice, you can plug choices in until it works. Choices: a) 4 b) 1 c) 3 d) 2.5 e) 0 3: Scan the answers A key method to making an educated guess if you are not sure. The idea is to get rid of any answers that don’t make sense. For example: What represents the area of the blue section? a) 8 - 2 x b) 8 - x2 c) 16 - 2 x d) 16 - x2 e) x2 - 16 4 x 4: Do not waste time on long solutions: Chances are, if you completing numerous steps to solve a problem, you missed the point. For example: Five consecutive integers add up to 1000, what is the value of the largest integer? 5: Fill in what you know If you are stuck on a problem, simply fill in and write down everything you know about it. This might make something click. 6: Recognize figure not drawn to scale: Do not assume anything unless it is given. Some problems may be drawn to throw you off if you don’t recognize the “not drawn to scale” next to the diagram. AB = BC and B is 30o What is the value of m? A m C B 7: Test the extremes: If given a range of values, test the extremes and the answer should be obvious. Example: If y = 4x – 3 and 0<x<3, what values is y between? a) -3 and 9 b) -2 and 10 c) 0 and 12 d) 1 and 5 e) 1 and 9 8: Find a pattern Example: If x is a positive integer, which of the following cannot be the units digit of 7x? a) 1 b) 3 c) 5 d) 7 e) 9 71 = 7: 72 = 49: 73 = 343: 74 = 2,401: 75 = 16,807: 76 = 117,649 77 = 823,543 78 = 5,764,801 9 and 10: Do not be misled by generic answers and do the math Some problems will contain choices like “none of the above” or “all of the above.” If you are attempting a guess, do not guess these. These are only if you can clearly eliminate all other choices. When in doubt, just do the math. There are some quick tricks to some problems, but it is in fact a math test. They want to test your knowledge of math, so you are better off spending the time doing the math instead of searching for a trick. Other reminders The material on the test involves problems from Algebra, Algebra II, and Geometry. The scratch work will be done in the test booklet (no scrap paper allowed) Remember: A calculator is good to use, but use it wisely. Don’t let it steal your time. Also, remember that guessing can be a smart choice sometimes. The SAT can be taken as many times as it is offered and a “good” score only depends on the school you want to attend.