When preparing for the SAT, knowing what type of math will be covered allows students to properly prepare for it. The main difference between SAT math questions and high school math questions is that the SAT is created for anyone in a junior level to pass, while high school math goes beyond these and covers additional topics and calculations, some of which that are not found in the SAT are included in the ACT.
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Many of the topics and functions that are found within the SAT are based upon lessons that begin in grade seven or eight and are then expanded upon through the other grades. Later versions of math are not included on the exam, and those who do well as a junior on the PSAT are expected to do well on the SAT as well, even if they do no further preparation. This alone shows the expected levels of knowledge and practice needed for the exam and the ability of those who are proficient in the basics of their math studies.
Wording of Questions
One of the biggest differences between high school math classes and lessons and the SAT is how the questions are worded. Great attention should be paid to the details included within the question itself and what exactly it is asking for, as they will use more difficult vocabulary and methods of presenting the question. Presenting the question in a different way tests not only the ability to complete the equations necessary but the ability to apply the concepts correctly where they are needed. It shows a deeper understanding of the concepts than simply answering the question.
Often the questions will be presented as a complicated situation, but the solution will be obtained through basic processes and skills. A portion of the test includes basic math concepts such as rational numbers, many will be based upon algebra such as quadratic equations and exponents, geometric shapes in their standard representation, and some questions on probability. These are all learned in early grades throughout high school and even previous to that, though they will be presented in more complicated methods requiring thought and logic to determine which methods to apply.
For a test on more difficult maths, the ACT offers more in-depth testing on complicated and advanced math topics and processes. While some may choose to take just one of these exams, others may decide to do both for a well-rounded score and an opportunity to test their knowledge on the subject.
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The time that is provided for the SAT is limited and strictly held, while many high school classes offer more flexibility and shorter exams. They are often representational of the concepts that are required, but the formulas will be available and calculators are not limited throughout classes and even exams, while the SAT has a list of approved calculators only and a portion that must be completed without a calculator.
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