# SAT Math: When to Plug-in Numbers II (w/ examples)

February 11, 2009 by
Filed under All Posts, Examples & Exercises, Math, SAT Strategies, SAT Unlocked

Previously, we talked about the strategy of plugging in a number whenever an SAT Math question mentions a number or integer. This number plug-in strategy works equally as well for questions with equations in the answer choices – questions that are often among the hardest on the entire SAT Math section.

Whenever you see an SAT Math question with equations in the answer choices, plug in a number.

Pick a number and plug it into the question to get a value. Then plug the number into each answer choice to see which one produces the same value.

Remember:
When plugging in numbers, be sure to pick EASY numbers and ALWAYS plug in for ALL answer choices.

Example 1:

The number plug-in strategy also works great for word problems with equations in the answer choices.

Example 2:

From my SAT guide SAT Unlocked, which includes a complete list of practice questions in The Official SAT Study Guide for which this number plug-in strategy is effective.

Common to SAT passage reading, definition questions ask you what a specific word “most nearly means” in the context of a short or long passage.

• First, eliminate answers that are not definitions or synonyms of the word in the question.
• Next, substitute the remaining answer choices into the sentence itself and see which one works best as a replacement.

Remember: a correct definition answer has to BOTH work in the sentence AND actually mean something similar to the word it replaces.

From my SAT training guide: SAT Unlocked.

# SAT Writing: How are Writing Sections Organized?

February 7, 2009 by
Filed under All Posts, SAT Organization, SAT Unlocked, Writing

SAT Writing includes an essay question and two sections of multiple choice questions.

• The Essay is always the FIRST section on the SAT.
• The bulk of multiple choice questions then come in one big, 25 minute section of 35 questions, and which appears somewhere between Sections 2-7.
• Additionally, a short, ten minute section of 14 Improving Sentences questions is always the last section of the test (Section 10).

The multiple choice (non-Essay) part of SAT Writing includes three types of questions:

• Improving Sentences (IS):
Part or all of a sentence is underlined and you have to decide which is the best version of the underlined part.
• Error Identification (EI):
Four different words or phrases are underlined in a sentence and you have to decide whether any of these underlined parts contain an error.
• Improving Paragraphs (IP):
Questions on how to improve parts of a poorly written passage.

Improving Sentences (25 questions) and Error IDs (18 Questions) make up the vast majority of SAT Writing MC questions, while Improving Paragraphs account for only 6 out of the 49 total questions.

Improving Sentences and Error ID questions tend to appear in order of difficulty, with the easiest questions of each type appearing at the beginning and the hardest questions appearing near the end. Improvement Paragraph questions, by contrast, do not appear of order of difficulty.

Tip:
On the long Writing multiple choice section, answer Improving Paragraphs questions first. Then go back to the beginning of the section and answer the rest of the questions.

After slogging through 11 Sentence Improvements and 18 Error IDs, test fatigue and time pressure combine to make the Improving Paragraph questions far more difficult at the end of the long Writing section than they would be if they were positioned earlier.

By moving to the back of the section and answering these questions first, you can pick up easy points that other students often miss. This strategy also helps you better manage your time because the final questions will then be shorter Error IDs instead of the longer Paragraph Improvements.

From my SAT training guide: SAT Unlocked.

# SAT Writing: Improving Sentences Tips

February 5, 2009 by
Filed under All Posts, SAT Strategies, SAT Unlocked, Writing, Writing Multiple Choice

Each Improving Sentence question provides a sentence and asks to you to change the underlined portion if necessary.
Once in awhile, the underlined portion may include the whole sentence, but usually only a part of the sentence is underlined.

Answer choice (A) is always ‘no error’.
Answer choice (A) simply repeats the underlined portion of the sentence as it appears in the question prompt. If there is no error in the sentence, (A) is the correct answer.

Improving  Sentences Tips:

• Improving Sentence questions appear in order of difficulty.
The easiest questions appear at the beginning of the section and become progressively harder as the section moves along.
• Read the sentence carefully and try to figure out what the issue is before looking at the answers.
When you know what improvement to look for, you can often eliminate incorrect answers with just a single word. Rewrite the sentence in your head the way you think it should appear and then look for your rewrite in the answers.
Correct answers tend to be shorter.
• Watch out for extra pronouns (it, they, that, this, etc.) and strange uses of the verb ‘to be’ (being, had been, were being, etc.).
These are usually sure signs of an INCORRECT answer.
The best sounding answer is usually the right one. Especially among the easier questions at the beginning of the section, choose the answer that you would most likely use if you were writing the sentence.
• Don’t be afraid to pick (A).
Statistically, each answer choice appears approximately the same number of times (one out of five), so there will almost always be a number of Sentence Improvement questions where (A) is the correct answer.

From SAT Unlocked.

# SAT Math: When to Plug-in Numbers (w/ example)

February 3, 2009 by
Filed under All Posts, Examples & Exercises, Math, SAT Strategies, SAT Unlocked

Plugging in numbers is a simple and very effective strategy that can help you answer many SAT Math questions, including even some of the hardest ‘Numbers and Operations’ questions.

Any time a question mentions a ‘number’ or ‘integer’, make up your own value that fits the description in the question, and then plug that value into the answer choices to see which one works.

A couple of things to remember:

Use EASY numbers.
1 (sometimes), 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, and 100 are usually best, depending on the question.

Occasionally, the number you plug in may be correct for more than one answer choice (especially if you plug in ’1′). Be sure to check all answers to make sure only one is correct. If you get more than one correct answer, plug in a different number for the remaining choices.

Example:

From my SAT course book SAT Unlocked, which includes a complete list of questions in The Official SAT Study Guide for which this number plug-in strategy is effective.

# SAT Critical Reading: How to Handle Hard Sentence Completions

Vocabulary based questions appear on the SAT in the form of Sentence Completions. Sentence Completion questions omit either one or two words from a sentence, and ask you to choose from a list of possible word choices to complete the sentence. Because Sentence Completions appear in order of difficulty from easiest at the beginning to hardest at the end, the hardest of these questions lie at the end of each Sentence Completion question group.

Don’t get stuck on hard Sentence Completions and waste time that should be spent on Passage Reading. Hard sentence completion questions are some of the most challenging questions on the entire SAT. The sentences are difficult to interpret and the vocabulary answer choices are even tougher. What’s more, hard Sentence Completion questions usually include trick answers (known as ‘attractors’) that sound like the correct answer, but in reality mean something completely different than the word the question is looking for.

Beware! Hard Sentence Completion questions can mess up your entire Critical Reading score. The temptation here is to waste valuable time pondering vocabulary words you don’t know, only to then desperately guess at the attractors. When you do this, not only are you likely to answer these hard questions incorrectly (and lose points!), but also, and even more importantly, you lose the precious time you need to answer the later Passage Reading questions that make up the bulk of your Critical Reading score.

Skip hard Sentence Completion questions and come back to them at the end if you have time. If you do not know the word the Sentence Completion question is looking for, or cannot confidently eliminate at least THREE answer choices, skip the question. Remember, it is far more important to finish the Critical Reading section than to waste too much time trying to answer some of the hardest questions on the whole test – especially if you can’t even eliminate most of the incorrect words.

Adapted from my SAT training guide: SAT Unlocked.

# SAT Writing: Redundant Comparisons

January 31, 2009 by
Filed under All Posts, SAT Strategies, SAT Unlocked, Writing, Writing Multiple Choice

On SAT Writing multiple choice questions, watch out for sentences that use extra comparing words where they are not needed.

Incorrect: The windows are more cleaner than they were before.
Correct:The windows are cleaner than they were before.

Incorrect: Carrots are my most favorite vegetable.
Correct: Carrots are my favorite vegetable.

# SAT Math: Number Lines (w/ example)

January 30, 2009 by
Filed under All Posts, Examples & Exercises, Math, SAT Strategies, SAT Unlocked

Once or twice per test, the SAT will ask you to interpret values on a number line.

When a number line question includes undefined points (labeled by variables), estimate the values of those points before answering the question.

Number Line Example:

Tip:
Number line questions often include fractions and negative numbers.
Subtracting a negative number moves the value to the right on the number line (positively).
Multiplying a number by a fraction makes the number smaller.

From SAT Unlocked, which includes a complete list of the number line practice questions found in The Official SAT Study Guide.

# Is SAT Math very advanced?

January 26, 2009 by
Filed under All Posts, FAQs, SAT Unlocked

No. The concepts tested on the SAT math sections are all fairly basic. The most advanced math you need to know is basic Geometry and some Algebra II. As a matter of fact, a students often find that the biggest difficulty on the math section is remembering some of the concepts they learned in grade school but have now forgotten (like ‘remainders‘).

Remember. the SAT uses basic math concepts to test your reasoning skills.
The SAT does not actual test your overall knowledge of math all that much. Instead, the SAT primarily tests your ability to figure out which basic math concepts to apply and how to apply them.

# SAT Math Exercise: Number Properties

January 24, 2009 by
Filed under All Posts, Examples & Exercises, Math, SAT Strategies, SAT Unlocked

Assuming whole numbers (integers), what is the correct answer for each of the following:

1. positive x positive = positive or negative?
2. negative x negative = positive or negative?

3. positive x negative = positive or negative?

4. even + odd = even or odd?

5. odd + odd = even or odd?

6. even + even = even or odd?

7. even x odd = even or odd?

8. odd x odd = even or odd?

9. even x even = even or odd?

10. positive odd x negative even = positive odd or negative even?

11. negative odd x negative odd = positive odd or negative even?

12. negative odd x positive even = positive odd or negative even?

13. Which is greater? -3 or -4?