What are they for?
Most of my tutoring students struggle to find the time and motivation to study for the SAT. The task just seems too daunting. They’ll ask me “how do I study for a test that covers practically everything I’ve learned about reading comprehension, writing/grammar, and math while being a full-time student?” It’s a fair question, so I’m on a mission to do my part to help students out. As a math tutor, that means creating a tool that will make studying for the two math sections simple and effective – hence the SAT Math Study Notes. These notes are not intended to reteach math from the beginning, but rather to refresh the student’s memory on those concepts (and only those concepts) that are covered on the math sections of the SAT test. My study notes consist of the most commonly forgotten math concepts as well as step-by-step instructions for how to solve many of the types of questions you’ll encounter on the exam.
How were they designed?
I started working on these notes over a year ago as a study tool for my students. From several years’ experience tutoring for this test, I know exactly what types of problems are generally missed and how to fill in the gaps. I started by going through each and every math question (all 464 of them!) from the eight publicly available SAT practice tests provided by The College Board. There’s no better SAT study resource than these practice tests because they consist of actual SAT questions from previous exams. I then gave my study notes to several of my SAT prep students to try out and give me feedback. With lots of rewriting and polishing, I’m now ready to release them.
Why are they divided into four different categories?
Because that’s how the math score is reported on the SAT. When students get their scores after taking an SAT exam, the math score is divided into these same four categories. This is so students can see where they need to put their energy in order to score higher next time. The four categories are listed below with a brief description and the percentage of math questions that generally fall in each category:
1. Heart of Algebra:
→ Linear equations, inequalities, functions and graphs (30%)
2. Problem Solving and Data Analysis:
→ Percentages, ratios, rates and data analysis (30%)
3. Passport to Advanced Math:
→ Non-linear equations, exponents, radicals and quadratics (30%)
4. Additional Topics in Math:
→ Geometry, trigonometry and complex numbers (10%)
How should I use them?
I recommend you take both math sections (3 and 4) from one of the College Board practice exams and grade them following the provided instructions. This will give you a baseline score for your current math skills. Here’s an easy link to these tests. Then, hit the study notes hard. Read through them carefully. Take your time and make sure you fully understand each concept and commit it to memory – especially the ones you missed on the practice exam. For those concepts that need additional study, I recommend KhanAcademy.org and MathIsFun.com. Take another practice exam and see how you’ve improved. Good luck!
P.S. Don’t forget….the next SAT test dates are December 7th and March 14th!