Approaches to the Mathematics Section

  • Familiarize yourself with the directions ahead of time.
  • The test does not require you to memorize formulas.
  • Commonly used formulas are provided in the test booklet at the beginning of each mathematics section. It is up to you to decide which formula is appropriate to a question.
  • Read the problem carefully. Look for key words that tell you what the problem is asking. Ask yourself the following questions before you solve each problem: what is the question asking? What do I know?
  • With some problems, it may be useful to draw a sketch or diagram of the given information.
  • Use the test booklet for scratch work. You are not expected to do all the reasoning and figuring in your head. You will not receive credit for anything written in the booklet, but you will be able to check your work easily later.
  • Decide when to use a calculator. (see Calculator Tips.)
  • Eliminate choices. If you don't know the correct answer to a question, try some of the choices. It’s sometimes easier to find the wrong answers than the correct one. On some questions, you can eliminate all the incorrect choices.
  • Make sure your answer is a reasonable answer to the question asked. This is especially true for student-produced response questions, where no answer choices are given.
  • All figures are drawn to scale unless otherwise indicated.
  • Calculator Policy

  • We recommend that you bring a calculator to use on the mathematics section of the SAT. every question on the test can be solved without a calculator, but you may have an advantage if you use a scientific or graphing calculator on some questions.
  • If you have a calculator with characters that are one inch or higher, or if your calculator has a raised display that might be visible to other test-takers, you will be seated at the discretion of the test supervisor.
  • You will not be allowed to share calculators. You will be dismissed and your scores will be canceled if you use your calculator to share information during the test or to remove tests questions or answers from the test room.
  • Calculator Tips

  • Remember to bring your calculator on test day. Calculators will not be available at the test center. You should be familiar with how to use the calculator you bring to the test.
  • Make sure your calculator is in good working order and that its batteries are fresh. If your calculator fails during testing and you have no backup, you will have to complete the test without it (or cancel your scores for the entire test.)
  • Don’t but an expensive, sophisticated calculator just to take the test. Although you can use them for the test, more sophisticated calculators are not required for any problem.
  • Don’t try to use a calculator on very question. First, decide how you will solve the problem, and them decide whether to use the calculator is meant to aid you in problem solving, not to get in the way.
  • Get your thoughts down before using your calculator. It may help to do scratch work in the test booklet.
  • Take the practice test with a calculator at hand. This will help you determine which types of questions you should use you should use your calculator to answer.
  • Acceptable Calculators

    Calculators permitted during testing are:

  • Graphing calculators
  • Scientific calculators
  • Four-function calculators (not recommended).
    See page 12 for the calculators that are permitted for use on the SAT
  • Unacceptable Calculators

    The following calculators are not permitted:

  • Models that have a QWERTY (i.e., typewriter) keypad, either as part of hardware or software (e.g., TI-92 Plus, Voyage 200)
  • Models that have pen-input, stylus or touch-screen capability (e.g., Palm, PDAs, Casio Class Pad) or have wireless or Bluetooth capability
  • Models that use paper tape, "take" or make unusual noises or require an electrical outlet
  • Models that can access the Internet
  • Models that have cell phone capability or have audio/ video recording capability
  • Models that have a digital audio/video player or have a camera

Exam Info

SAT Tips SAT Books