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# The SAT Math Test: Overview

An overview of what to expect on the SAT Math Test

## Types of math

Questions on the Math Test cover a variety of skills under three main areas.
• Heart of Algebra: focuses on linear equations, systems of linear equations, and the relationships between them.
Heart of algebra example
In 2014, County start text, X, end text had 783 miles of paved roads. Starting in 2015, the county had been building 8 miles of new paved roads each year. At this rate, if n is the number of years after 2014, which of the following functions f gives the number of miles of paved road there will be in County start text, X, end text? (Assume that no paved roads go out of service.)

• Problem Solving and Data Analysis: focuses on ratios, percentages, and proportional reasoning.
Problem solving and data analysis example
Time (hours)Number of bacteria
01, times, 10, cubed
14, times, 10, cubed
21, point, 6, times, 10, start superscript, 4, end superscript
36, point, 4, times, 10, start superscript, 4, end superscript
The table above gives the initial number (at time t, equals, 0) of bacteria placed in a growth medium and the number of bacteria in the growth medium over 3 hours. Which of the following functions models the number of bacteria, N, left parenthesis, t, right parenthesis, after t hours?

• Passport to Advanced Math: focuses on complex equations and functions typically needed in a STEM-based—science, technology, engineering, and math—career.
A car is traveling at x feet per second. The driver sees a red light ahead, and after 1, point, 5 seconds reaction time, the driver applies the brake. After the brake is applied, the car takes start fraction, x, divided by, 24, end fraction seconds to stop, during which the time average speed of the car is start fraction, x, divided by, 2, end fraction feet per second. If the car travels 165 feet from the time the driver saw the red light to the time it comes to a complete stop, which of the following equations can be used to find the value of x ?

These questions also can include additional topics in math, like geometry, trigonometry, radian measure, and complex numbers.
The SAT Math Test presents problems and scenarios that you will find in real life from a variety of fields: careers, science, social science, and other contexts.

## What the test looks like

About 80% of the questions on the Math Test are multiple choice. The other 20% are gridded response. The answer to each gridded-response question is a positive number—e.g., positive fraction, decimal, or integer—that will be entered on the answer sheet into a grid like this one.
Example of how to grid in responses.
The image shows two different examples of how to grid in responses: in the first, the answer is 7/12 and in the second, the answer is 2.5. First, write the answer in the white boxes at the very top of the grid. Then grid in the result in columns of circled numbers. Under the written "7", grid in a "7", under the fraction line, grid in a fraction line, under a decimal point, grid in a decimal point, and so on.
The Math Test will also include reference information. You may find these facts and formulas helpful as you answer some of the test questions, but to do well, you should already be comfortable working with these facts and formulas.
The reference formulas provided by the SAT include: Area and circumference of a circle Area of a rectangle Area of a triangle Pythagorean theorem Side length relationships of 30-60-90 and 45-45-90 special right triangles Volume of a rectangular solid Volume of a right cylinder Volume of a sphere Volume of a right cone Volume of a pyramid with rectangular base Number of degrees and radians or arc in a circle Sum of angle measures in a triangle
Are you ready to start practicing? Head over to the Math Practice Area and try some problems!

“SAT Practice Tests” from The College Board.

## Want to join the conversation?

• Score the best you can, if you ace it, I would be surprised if you didn't get some awesome scholarships! :)
• hey i just took the test 1 (new sat) out of 1600 without any prior prep (i just wanted to see where i stand without any prep) and got 1350 with 680 in reading and 670 in math. what can i do to improve and what is an ideal score - i mean should i try for like 1500+ and how do i improve? ref book recommendations, class vs self study prep, anything please!! thanks
• Seriously my teachers haven't taught me most of the things on the SAT, but i am hoping that khan academy will help.
• Are there any solutions to how I can bring up my score? I'm struggling in the Math and my score keeps decreasing from every practice test I take.
• Hey Jaela!
This is an Aptitude Test. So the syllabus covered here is exactly what you have studied up to class 10. So before starting with the preparation, you should first take out those old good books( basically class 9th and 10th) and revise them. I assure you that there will be no question that you can't answer on Khan Academy or the actual SAT because the questions are super dooper easy on the SAT in comparison to what you have studied until now.
Cheers!
• what is considered a good score?
• Depending on what colleges you are shooting for (or maybe you're not at all), anything between a 1300-1600 is usually considered a very good score. However, Ivy Leagues mostly accept applicants with scores between 1450-1600.
• Hello,
I am an international student from Nigeria taking sat, are they any financial aids for getting a high score in sat for me?
• Hi. :)
I'm also an international student, though not Nigerian, and I'm going to take the SAT test too.

Now for your question, I didn't really get what you mean by "financial aid". Do you want to take the SAT for free? If so, you could try to get a fee waiver. More info here: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/register/fees/fee-waivers (link goes off-KA)

If you're talking about scholarships (as in enter colleges for free or with less fees), then you should ask the college you want to enter. I wish I could point you to an article or a site, but I don't know where and in shat kind of college you want to study.

If you mean something different, then feel free to correct me. :)
• I am having trouble completing the math in the limited time. I am able to do the problems without the time constraints. Any advice for how to go through the problems faster?
• Hi Rose,

Sorry, no magic – this is going to take time. Recommend you use the SAT study material to identify your weak points. Make a list, post it by your computer, and then study these topics. It’s no different than any other physical sport. The more time you spend the faster you will become.

Perhaps you have already started a Khan Academy “mission.” If not these are a great place to start. You will find links to videos and worked out solutions to thousands of questions. Algebra is a good place to start...

Regards,

APD
• Does anyone know if this is a paper test or is it computerized?
• It's a paper test. You will receive a test booklet and a separate sheet of paper for gridding in answers.