What the New SAT Mathematics Test Covers

By Geraldine Woods, Ron Woldoff

SAT math questions rely on Algebra II and some advanced topics in geometry, statistics, probability, and trigonometry. The new SAT Mathematics section contains one 55-minute section when you can use a calculator and one 25-minute section when you can’t. Of the 57 questions, 45 are multiple-choice, in which you choose an answer from four possibilities, and 12 are grid-ins, in which you supply an answer and bubble in the actual number, not a multiple-choice letter.

Whether calculator or no calculator, multiple-choice or grid-in answer, each question is worth the same except for one grid-in question called Extended Thinking, which carries four times the weight of the other math questions.

Here’s a sample multiple-choice problem:

  1. If xy – 12 = z, and the value of x is 2, which of the following must be true?

    (A) z = xy

    (B) y = 12 + z

    (C) z = 2y – 12

    (D) 2yz = 100

Substitute 2 for x, and see which answer most closely resembles xy – 12 = z. The correct answer is Choice (C).