SAT Math Overview - dummies

By Ron Woldoff

The first math section on the SAT doesn’t allow the use of a calculator. These questions tend to be less math-heavy and more concept-based, and they cover the same topics that you cover in high school.

If you’re fresh out of math class, you’ll probably be fine going through these quickly. However, if you haven’t seen some of these topics since freshman year, you may want to work them carefully and pay close attention to the solutions.

The Problems You’ll Work On

When you take the SAT, you should be prepared to answer questions on the following topics:

  • Basic math, including fractions, decimals, percentages, and ratios
  • Algebra, including linear equations, coordinate geometry, and quadratic equations
  • Geometry, which covers both basic shapes and three-dimensional solids
  • Word problems, including rate of travel, averages, probability, and equation setup
  • Tables and graphs, including data analysis

What to Watch Out For

Shortfalls in math occur in three basic categories. You may need to do some extra prep work if you are prone to any of the following:

  • Mistakes in simple math, such as not placing the decimal point correctly
  • Mistakes in working the problem, such as multiplying exponents when you should be adding them
  • Not knowing how to work a certain math problem, such as a probability