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Digital SAT - Math Module Skills & Strategies

Wondering how to get a good score (or improve your scores) on the new digital SAT math modules?



Use your resources


On the digital SAT, there are several tools (new and old) available to help students maximize their time and stay organized:


  • Reference Formulas The image below is the reference formula information that will be available to students for each math module question:

digital sat math module reference formulas
digital sat math module reference formulas

  • Desmos Graphing Calculator This is often the most useful and impactful tool available on both math modules of the digital SAT. On previous paper-based SATs, there was a 'no calculator' math section, designed to test students' abilities to solve questions by hand. THIS HAS DISAPPEARED and has been replaced with math modules that often require strategic calculator use in order to finish the questions in the allotted time.

Always use parentheses to instruct your calculator (including Desmos) on the digital SAT math modules.
It's essential to use parentheses to instruct your calculator (including Desmos)!


  • strikethrough tool - for eliminating answers

  • annotator tool - for highlighting important bits

  • 'mark for review' tool - to note questions to come back to later if time allows

  • countdown clock - to keep track of how much time has passed and how much is left



Know what's coming


Math content on the digital SAT covers...


  • Algebra

  • Problem Solving & Data Analysis (PSDA)

  • Geometry & Trigonometry

  • Advanced Skills


Here's a more specific breakdown of what these vague topics actually test:


  • ALGEBRA

    • linear equations, inequalities, & functions

    • systems of linear equations, inequalities, & functions


algebra is a main focus area on the digital SAT math modules


  • PROBLEM SOLVING AND DATA ANALYSIS

    • graph interpretation

      • bar / line / scatterplot / box-and-whisker plot / histograms

    • rates, ratios, & proportions

      • speed/density

      • unit conversion

      • fraction operations

      • linear rate functions

    • central tendency / evaluating statistical claims

      • mean / median / mode / range / standard deviation

      • distribution diagram interpretation and vocabulary

      • making data inferences and interpreting margin of error

    • percentages

    • probability & relative frequency

      • interpreting frequency tables & two-way tables


gotta know the density formula for certain questions, too!

  • GEOMETRY / TRIGONOMETRY

    • triangles

      • perimeter / area

      • similarity & congruence

      • SOHCAHTOA right triangle trigonometry rules and relationships

      • special right triangles

      • inscribed shapes

      • Pythagorean Theorum



  • geo/trig skills continued...

    • angles

      • parallel / perpendicular lines / transversals

      • vertical / complementary / supplementary angle rules

    • quadrilaterals

      • squares / rectangles / rhombi / parallelograms / trapezoids

      • perimeter / area

    • circles

      • radius / diameter / area / circumference

      • arc length & sector area proportion calculations

      • converting between radians and degrees

      • circle graph / equation interpretation

      • completing the square

      • unit circle

questions involving circles are common on the digital SAT math modules

  • geo/trig skills continued...

    • volume & surface area

      • cubes / rectangular prisms / cylinders


be careful converting between 2D and 3D units on the digital SAT math modules


  • ADVANCED SKILLS

    • quadrilaterals

      • factoring / FOILing

      • solving quadratic equations and functions

      • evaluating number of quadratic solutions from given equation(s)

      • word problems with constants

      • vertex form / finding the vertex of a parabola

students must know how to foil and factor quadratics for the digital sat math modules

  • advanced skills continued...

    • higher-degree polynomials

      • combining like terms and isolating variables

      • radical, rational, and negative exponent rules

      • factoring and interpreting non-linear function diagrams

      • word problems with constants

linear & exponential equations are common on the digital SAT math modules

  • advanced skills continued...

    • systems of linear and quadratic equations & inequalities

    • evaluating radicals, roots, and absolute values

    • equation translations

    • arithmetic / geometric sequences



Use test-taking strategies


PROCESS OF ELIMINATION


When in doubt on a question, using process of elimination is a great way to increase your chances of getting the question correct.


remember to use process of elimination on the digital SAT math modules

TIME MANAGEMENT


While the digital SAT is considerably shorter than its paper-based predecessor, this also means that time management is an even bigger component of getting a high score.


Using Desmos, particularly on the higher-level math module, is KEY to managing time effectively and getting through all of the questions in the time allotted. It is a fantastic use of study time to practice using Desmos to interpret given equations, visualize graphs, and answer difficult math questions.


Even if you're familiar with how to solve difficult math questions by hand, this is no longer what the test is designed to assess. It is now a question of how well students are able to use the given resources in the allotted time. So, if it's going to be even a little bit faster to solve a question using Desmos, use it!



GUESSING


There is no guessing penalty on the digital SAT, so it pays to guess on any questions students may be unsure about or run out of time for in any of the digital SAT's modules; this is true for both multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions in the math modules.


If there is a group of questions left to guess on, it's better to choose one letter and stick with it (instead of randomly choosing different letters for each of the questions). Statistically, it's more likely to get more 'free' points by sticking with one letter -- even if the questions needing guesses are spaced out throughout the section!


Note: it's a myth that "C" is the most commonly-occurring answer choice. It's just as likely for A, B, or D to be correct for multiple choice questions on any given test or module. So, whichever letter is your favorite (A, B, C, or D), pick that one and stick with it!


don't leave anything blank on the digital SAT math modules

ANXIETY MANAGEMENT


If you or someone you know experiences test anxiety or math anxiety, this post can help!


tutoring can help with managing anxiety about the digital SAT

Digital SAT Math Module Strategy Summary


In order to do well on the math modules of the digital SAT, it's important to use the resources provided in the test application, know (and practice!) the concepts and skills that are most likely to appear on the test, and use test-taking strategies to maximize time and energy.


can't stop won't stop

TL;DR


If you skimmed this for the memes, keep this last one in mind as a takeaway:


the only way to get better at digital sat math is to practice!

Want help with learning and practicing math?

 

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LearnCurious is dedicated to helping students succeed on the digital SAT!

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LearnCurious is dedicated to helping students improve their scores on college admissions tests like the digital SAT and ACT exams. Our goal is to provide high-quality practice questions written according to the latest formatting guidelines available.



All content presented by LearnCurious is thoroughly researched and tested by test prep experts and experienced tutors to ensure that it provides the most effective preparation possible to students studying for their college entrance exams.


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