Preparing for the SAT

How to prepare for the SAT Math section

Improve your math SAT score by creating a plan and reviewing different strategies.

What is a good math SAT score?

The highest score possible on the math section of the SAT is an 800. Based on the College and Career Readiness Benchmark for the current SAT, the benchmark score is 530. This benchmark means that there is a 75% likelihood of achieving a C or higher in related, first-semester, credit-bearing college courses.

While it’s good to aim for this benchmark or higher, a good math SAT score depends on what schools you’re hoping to gain acceptance to.

The key concepts to master

Problem solving and data analysis

This section focuses on solving problems in science and social science. Proportional reasoning, ratios, and percentages are featured in this part of the math section.

Heart of algebra

This section contains linear equations and systems to test a student’s algebra skills.

Passport to advanced math

This last section focuses on complex equations and the strategies to solve them.

Start early and take
a formative assessment

The earlier you begin preparing for the SAT, the more thorough your prep will be—the first semester of junior year is the perfect time to start.

The only way to know where you currently stand is to take a formative assessment. This will inform you of what common errors you make, allowing you to target your studying and create a solid plan.


Work on different test-taking strategies

Pace yourself by using a watch and bringing it to the exam. Pacing is something you’ll fine-tune over time and by taking practice tests.

Use the two-passes strategy to improve time management. Go through the entire section and complete all questions that are easily apparent. Then return to the ones you marked as guesses and give each one a little more thought.

Practice, practice, practice in order to continuously reasses your progress. Score your practice tests carefully and identify patterns in any mistakes in order to help your studying.

test-taking strategy

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