Sat Math Section

The SAT Math section comprises the No Calculator (you may not use a calculator in this section) and the Calculator (you may use a calculator in this section) sections. Both the sections have multiple choice questions and grid in type questions.Together these sections contribute to the 200-800 math scores. Some of the grid in questions in the calculator section relate to one another as a part of Extended Thinking.

SAT Math Structure

Section # of questions Multiple Choice Questions Grid in Questions Time allotted Scores
Calculator 20 15 5 25 minutes 200 to 800
No Calculator 38 30 8 55 minutes


SAT Math – Topics

The College Board classifies the questions into majorly three areas :

  1. Heart of Algebra – These questions are related to linear equations,  graphs, inequalities, and functions.

The official topics include:

  • Solving linear equations and linear inequalities (in these expressions, x is a constant or the product of a constant)
  • Interpreting linear functions
  • Linear inequality and equation word problems
  • Graphing linear equations
  • Linear function word problems
  • Systems of linear inequalities word problems
  • Solving systems of linear equations

A sample question,

  1. Passport to Advanced Math – These questions deal with non linear equations. The topics include quadratic expressions, word problems, polynomials, and exponents.

The official topics include:

  • Solving quadratic equations
  • Interpreting nonlinear expressions
  • Quadratic and exponential word problems
  • Radicals and rational exponents
  • Operations with rational expressions and polynomials
  • Polynomial factors and graphs
  • Nonlinear equation graphs
  • Linear and quadratic systems
  • Structure in expressions
  • Isolating quantities
  • Functions

A sample question,

  • Problem Solving and Data Analysis –  The questions under this category test on topics like ratio, units, percentages,rates,  and data from charts and graphs. 

The official topics include:

  • Ratios, rates, and proportions
  • Percents
  • Units
  • Table data
  • Scatterplots
  • Key features of graphs
  • Linear and exponential growth
  • Data inferences
  • Center, spread, and shape of distributions
  • Data collection and conclusions

A sample question,

  • Additional Math topics – The miscellaneous topics include geometry, trigonometry, and complex numbers. Around 6 questions are tested for these topics.

A sample question,

SAT Math – Question types

  1. Multiple choice questions – Most of the questions in SAT math sections are multiple choice questions with four answer choices and one right answer. 45 out of 58 math questions are multiple choice questions.
  2. Student produced response questions – This is also called to be Grid in questions. No answer choices are given for this type, students have to work on the question, find the answer and enter in the grid. 13 out of 58 math questions are Grid in questions.

Tips for SAT Math

  • There is no penalty for wrong answers, so do not leave anything unanswered.
  • All the questions are scored equally immatter easy or hard, so do all the easy questions first.
  • Learn the grid in rules for grid in questions.
  • Do not keep the grid in questions towards the end as you will not be able to guess the grid in questions.
  • Try to eliminate answer choices as and when you read the question and after every step of the solution look for elimination.
  • Learn to effectively use the calculator based on the needs of the problem.
  • Learn all the concepts relevant to the SAT test.
  • Understand how the above mentioned topics are tested on SAT in a unique way and practice accordingly.

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