What is a good strategy for math questions?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,915
    Laura Rheinauer, Associate Director of Educational Connections, gives some tips on how to approach the math questions.

    Host: What is a good strategy for math questions?

    Laura Rheinauer: You are going to encounter a lot of different types of math problems. First tip, have a calculator that works and bring a fresh pair of batteries. It's easy to get suckered into thinking; I need to answer all of these questions with a calculator. In reality, many of these questions; you can do either in your head or easily in your test booklet. As you encounter the math problem, think about it as a treasure chest that has to be opened. In this math word problem you are going to be given pieces of this treasure chest. Maybe you are given the answer sometime, what's inside the treasure chest. Other times, you are given pieces that are outside the treasure chest. You are always going to be looking to find that key what's going to open the treasure chest. That usually, involves what type of math do I need to do? Do I need to cross multiply, do I need to subtract, do I need to divide, do I need to use geometry, circumference or a radius formula? Once you have got a good sense of exactly what are the pieces that they are giving me, what am I asked to solve and what are my options, then you can tackle the math problem. On the SAT you are going to be presented with a good list of formulas so you don't have to memorize them. Instead, you need to have a good knowledge of how to use these formulas. Math questions try to trick you. They make you think, "Oh, this is going to be so hard. I need to use my calculator.

    " In many instances, you actually don't have to. For instance, let's look at this problem. After quick examination, it ends up just being a ratio. 25/300 = x/12. Pretty easy, 25/300, reduce that, 1/12 = x/12, boom, no brainer, the answer is one. Move on to the next question. I didn't even need to use a calculator for that. Use your test booklet for scratch work. It's really easy to start punching in numbers in your calculator and soon forget what you punched in, come up with a wrong answer and have to start from scratch.