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An overview of the SAT Math sections

SAT MATH : An overview of the SAT Math sections

SAT mathematics

The SAT mathematics sections have a total of 54 questions: 44 multiple-choice questions and 10 student-written answer questions. Students are required to solve a problem and pick the best response from a list of options in the five-choice multiple-choice questions. Student-produced response questions do not offer answer options; instead, they ask students to solve a problem and grid the right response.

 You are not permitted to use a calculator during the first 25 minutes of the SAT Math portion. You may use your calculator for the remaining 55 minutes of the SAT Math section.

There will be multiple-choice questions with four possible answers at the start of both SAT Math sections. You will next be requested to submit some student-written comments, sometimes known as “grid-ins.”


The four major curriculum areas of the SAT Math test are Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, Passport to Advanced Math, and Additional Topics. Don’t worry, all the ideas assessed on the SAT Math test are covered in your standard high school Pre-algebra, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus classes. You may encounter some problems on the SAT Math test that involve concepts that appear foreign to you.


The emphasis of Heart of Algebra is on linear equations, systems of linear equations, and functions. These questions require you to formulate equations that describe a situation, resolve equations and systems of equations, and connect various illustrations of linear relationships.

  1. Create an expression, equation, or inequality from a word problem.
  2. Fix a linear inequality or equation using a single variable (including absolute values).
  3. Solve a set of two-variable linear equations or inequalities.
  4. Analyze a linear statement, equation, or inequality in light of its surroundings.
  5. Recognize the relationship between a linear graph and an equation, a system of equations, or an inequality.


Utilizing ratios, percentages, and proportional reasoning to find solutions to issues in social science, science, and other real-world contexts is part of problem solving and data analysis. Analyzing statistical data and defining relationships that are depicted graphically are also included.

This set of abilities is basically about being numerately literate and exhibiting a command of the arithmetic that is relevant to everyday life, career training programs, and college courses.

  1. To answer a problem, use ratios, rates, and proportions.
  2. Make use of percentages to get a solution.
  3. Convert units of measurement.
  4. Determine the scatterplot’s best fit line or curve.
  5. Recognize the distinction between exponential and linear growth.
  6. Utilize data to calculate probability.
  7. Calculate the mean, median, mode, and range of the data and comprehend how the standard deviation and these factors affect the distribution, shape, and center of the data.
  8. construct and defend statistical judgments based on data (little to no statistical calculation required).


Passport to Advanced Math focuses on the math you’ll need for job options in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math as well as for additional study in a field like economics or physics. You’ll get ready for calculus and advanced statistics classes by becoming familiar with increasingly complicated equations or functions in the Passport to Advanced Math area.

  1. Model a real-world situation by using an exponential or quadratic function.
  2. By using exponents, simplify an expression.
  3. Work with a nonlinear expression and consider it in its context.
  4. A nonlinear equation’s variable should be isolated.
  5. Fix a quadratic equation (via factoring, completing the square, and quadratic formula).
  6. Use polynomial expressions to perform operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division).
  7. Find the solution to an equation with variables in the denominator.
  8. Solve a quadratic and linear equation-based system of equations.
  9. Understanding the relationships between a polynomial’s zeros, factors, and graph is important.
  10. Understand the relationship between a nonlinear graph and an equation or system of nonlinear equations.
  11. Recognize how transformations and compositions are carried out in the function notation.

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There are six questions in Additional Topics in Math on the SAT Math Test (three in the no-calculator section and three in the calculator section). They might cover subjects like complex numbers, radian measure, geometry, and trigonometry.

  1. formulae for volume and area (provided on test).
  2. When parallel lines are crossed by a transversal or when similar or congruent triangles are given, solve for the missing information.
  3. Use the Pythagorean theorem or trigonometric ratios to solve a right triangle (sine, cosine, tangent).
  4. Use the relationship between similar triangles, trigonometric ratios, and right triangles.
  5. Circle the missing values you calculated (arc lengths, angle measures, chord lengths, sector areas).
  6. Convert measurements in degrees and radians.
  7. Discover and understand the circle’s coordinate plane equation’s standard form.
  8. Execute operations on complicated numbers.


Content AreaNumber of QuestionsDescription
Heart of Algebra19 questionsAnalyzing and fluently solving equations and systems of equations; creating expressions, equations, and inequalities to represent relationships between quantities and to solve problems; rearranging and interpreting formulas
Problem Solving and Data Analysis17 questionsCreating and analyzing relationships using ratios, proportions, percentages, and units; describing relationships shown graphically; summarizing qualitative and quantitative data
 Passport to Advanced Math16 questionsRewriting expressions using their structure; creating, analyzing, and fluently solving quadratic and higher-order equations; purposefully manipulating polynomials to solve problems
Additional Topics in Math6 questionsMaking area and volume calculations in context; investigating lines, angles, triangles, and circles using theorems; and working with trigonometric functions

What the Math Exam Indicates

The SAT Math test evaluates conceptual comprehension, mathematical fluency, and calculator use in addition to real-world application.

In order to answer SAT Math problems, you must first assess the given scenarios, identify the ideas and procedures needed to address them, and then accurately implement a mathematical solution. You will demonstrate your understanding of mathematical principles, processes, and relationships during this process.

You’ll demonstrate your capacity to recognize and use the best mathematical techniques. At the same time, you’ll demonstrate that you comprehend the connections between different mathematical techniques and how to apply them in certain situations.

The SAT Math test also assesses your proficiency using a calculator. You need to understand when and how to utilize calculators as you go on to more difficult mathematics after high school. a few SAT Math.

So let’s wrap things up. The SAT Math examination gauges:

understanding of math procedures and ideas
Application of math concepts in real life
Number savvy
mathematical aptitude
Knowing the context-specific link between strategy and operations
Calculator proficiency and approach
Possessing analytical and problem-solving skills


SAT mathematics

Format for SAT Math

Understanding the SAT Math structure is helpful in addition to being aware of the material covered on the test. You need to start responding to the questions right away; you don’t want to waste time trying to understand the structure and instructions. So let’s look at the SAT Math test’s structure.

After finishing the Reading and Writing & Language portions, you’ll go on to the Mathematics section. You will begin by completing the 25-minute No Calculator segment. After a brief intermission, the 55-minute Calculator section will be covered. (Remember that you don’t have to use the calculator for every question in this section simply because you can.)

Multiple-choice questions with four response possibilities open both sections (15 multiple choice questions in the No Calculator section and 30 multiple choice questions in the Calculator section). Each multiple-choice question has a single correct response. You should respond to every question because you won’t be penalized for giving a wrong answer.

Grid-in questions or student-produced response questions round out both parts (5 grid-in questions in the No Calculator section and 8 grid-in questions in the Calculator section). Several grid-ins in the Calculator section pertain to one topic or scenario as part of an Extended Thinking question.

To access sample SAT Math multiple-choice questions, visit the College Board website.

Grid-In Questions

Grid-ins make up about 20% of the SAT Math questions. Grid-ins ask you to solve issues and enter your solutions in the grids supplied on your response sheet rather than selecting from a selection of possibilities.

When you enter your responses, you first enter the relevant number or symbol in the circles beneath the boxes after writing your numbers in the spaces provided. The grids have decimal points, fraction lines, and numbers 0 to 9.

You must adhere to the following guidelines to properly record your responses:


  1. Make care to bubble the circles AND write in the boxes. If you forget the bubbles, you won’t earn credit.
  2. Simply place one circle in each column.
  3. The only requirement is that your entire response must fit within the gridded area, regardless of which column you begin in.
  4. Negative integers cannot be used since the grid can only hold four decimal places.
  5. Unless otherwise specified in the question, answers may be entered as fractions or decimals.
  6. Fractions do not need to be reduced to their simplest form.
  7. Before entering mixed integers into the grid, you must transform them into improper fractions.
  8. Enter the most precise number the grid will accept if your response is a repeating decimal.
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Tips for SAT Math Exam Preparation

According to research, the math section of the SAT is the most stressful. To assist you in tackling the SAT math part with ease, the following preparation advice is provided:

  • Finding the correct SAT math books is the first and most crucial step in starting your study. To prevent confusions at the last minute, it is advisable to start planning in advance.
  • Once you have your books, carefully review the SAT math syllabus. It will give you a sense of the subjects and questions you might encounter on the test.
  • Make a good timetable. Make it a point to set aside at least two to three hours per day for preparation, starting with the trickiest SAT math problems.
  • Exercise, exercise, and more exercise! Your ability to succeed on the SAT math examinations is greatly influenced by your commitment and consistency. In order to feel comfortable with the test, you should also complete some SAT math practice tests and sample papers.
  • Finally, spend a lot of time reviewing the day before your SAT exam. Keep your cool and make sure you have all the paperwork you need with you, along with other items like pencils, erasers, calculators, etc.

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