SAT Math

Some basic tips, tricks, and rules to remember
Mandeep Singh
Edition 1.0

Table of Contents
GEOMETRY................................................................................................................................................................................. 1 CIRCLES .................................................................................................................................................................................. 1 QUADRILATERALS .................................................................................................................................................................... 1 RECTANGLES ........................................................................................................................................................................... 1 SQUARES ................................................................................................................................................................................ 1 PARALLELOGRAMS ................................................................................................................................................................... 2 POLYGONS.............................................................................................................................................................................. 2 CUBES ................................................................................................................................................................................... 2 RECTANGULAR BOX/CUBOID/RECTANGULAR PRISM ...................................................................................................................... 2 CYLINDER ............................................................................................................................................................................... 2 SPHERE .................................................................................................................................................................................. 3 RIGHT TRIANGLES/TRIGONOMETRY ............................................................................................................................................ 3 EQUILATERAL TRIANGLES .......................................................................................................................................................... 4 GENERAL PROPERTIES (TRIANGLES) ........................................................................................................................................... 4 PARALLEL LINES ...................................................................................................................................................................... 5 COORDINATE GEOMETRY ......................................................................................................................................................... 5 ALGEBRA ................................................................................................................................................................................... 5 ORDER OF OPERATIONS ............................................................................................................................................................ 5 ABSOLUTE VALUES .................................................................................................................................................................. 6 PERCENTAGES ........................................................................................................................................................................ 6 RATIOS ................................................................................................................................................................................. 6
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..................................... etc........................................ 8 COMBINED RATE PROBLEMS .................................................. absolute values........................ 7 RATES (GENERAL OVERVIEW) ........... volume of box..................... coordinate geometry.... cylinder.................. algebraic simplification........................................ proportions........... etc.............. 8 EXPONENT AND RADICAL RULES ...................... equations of lines............. ratios........................................ 7 AVERAGE SPEED PROBLEMS .................................................................. .............................. and mode)................... circles......... and Probability (10-15%) – probability................................................... quadratic functions.......................... median.DIRECT-INDIRECT RELATIONS .......... Algebra and Functions (35-40%) – includes word problems................................................. parallel and perpendicular lines................. etc.... direct-indirect relationships.. cube...................................................................................................................... number theory....................................... 11 SAT Math breakdown: Numbers and Operations (20-25%) – includes percentages....... 10 QUADRATIC FUNCTIONS .... Geometry and Measurement (25-30%) – Area and perimeter of polygon........................ tables and graphs (data interpretations) and statistics (mean.... Statistics............ Data Analysis...................................................... slope.......................

RECTANGLE: 𝑤 𝑙 SQUARE: Opposite sides are equal. Maximum area for a 4 sided figure of a given parameter is a square i. An arc or a sector of a circle is simply a fraction of that circle. 𝑠 - All sides are equal. QUADRILATERALS: Any four sided figure is a quadrilateral. The radius is ALWAYS perpendicular to the tangent line on the tangent point.e. if you are given some length of rope. maximum area will be covered in shape of a perfect square.1 Here are a few pages of some simple mathematical formulae/facts which you will need for the SAT. but also give you a boost throughout your academic career. Diagonals are equal. All angles are 90°. Sum of angles of a four sided figure is 360°. . Having these understood and committed to memory will not only give you an edge on SAT day. GEOMETRY CIRCLE: 𝑟 - Total angle measure of circle is .

RECTANGULAR BOX/CUBOID/RECTANGULAR PRISM: 𝑤 𝑙 - There are 6 faces to both a cube and a cuboid. There are 6 square faces that make up a cube. Opposite faces are equal.2 Diagonals are equal and perpendicular. PARALLELOGRAM: 𝑎 𝑏 - Opposite angles are equal. CYLINDER: 𝑟 . POLYGONS: ( CUBE: 𝑠 ) 𝑠 𝑠 All sides of a cube are equal. All angles are 90°.

cos is adjacent/hypotenuse. For example. instead of plugging in So let us look at a 30-60-90 triangle: √ √ in your calculator. . Most of the time. cosine (cos). so please know they are related. remember. your answers on SAT won’t have the choice 0. and tangent (tan) ratios (soh-cah-toa stuff) can only be applied to right triangles. This section deserves a nice discussion.e. save yourself some time and do trig problems by hand. Side opposite the right angle is ALWAYS the hypotenuse.707106781 (i. that . The special right triangles are derived from trigonometry. 𝐵 𝑥 𝑥 𝑥 𝑎 9 √ 𝑥 5 9 √ 𝑥 𝐶 𝑏 𝐴 Examples: ⁄ ⁄ is simply the angle under consideration. = sin is opposite/hypotenuse. Sine (sin). and tangent is opposite/adjacent.3 SPHERE: TRIANGLES: RIGHT TRIANGLES: 5 √ 𝑥 Pythagorean Theorem can only be applied to right triangles. So PLEASE. number barf) as one of the answers for a trigonometry problem.

You simply have to remember one row from above table and you will know all the “special” right triangles. and bisects the side it is perpendicular to. I suggest you put some time into remembering these ratios.4 In sixth grade. in reference to the third image above). GENERAL PROPERTIES: ( ) √ ( - )( )( ) Heron’s formula for area can be rather useful at times when you know all the sides. the angles opposite these sides are also equal. The altitude is perpendicular to the other side. Triangle inequality states that sum of any two sides of a triangle is strictly greater than the third side and greater than the difference of the lengths of the other two sides. PYTHAGOREAN THEOREM: (obviously. I was ordered to memorize this table below: √ √ √ √ √ √ At this point in your academic career.e. Measure of the angle is proportional to the length of the side opposite it i. the largest side of a triangle is opposite the largest angle. solve for h in terms of a). Notice the symmetry of sine and cosine function. The special area formula can be proven using trigonometry (I suggest you give it a shot. Sum of all the angles in a triangle is 180°. EQUILATERAL TRIANGLE: 𝑎 𝑎 𝑎 9 √ - All sides and angles are equal. you are not expected to appreciate the beauty and the symmetry of these functions. bisects the angle from its vertex. Is two sides are equal (isosceles triangle). .

Slope of parallel lines ( ) is always the same. PARALLEL LINES: COORDINATE GEOMETRY: - Slope is called because y-coordinates represent the change in vertical component.5 𝑥 𝑦 𝑤 An exterior angle of a triangle is always the sum of two opposite interior angles i. whereas x-coordinates represent change in horizontal component. Slope of perpendicular lines ( ) is always the negative reciprocal ( ). Remember. - y-intercept is where the line crosses the y-axis. whereas zero slope means a horizontal line. We need at least 2 points on the line to get the equation for a line. Undefined slope means a vertical line. √( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ALGEBRA: ORDER OF OPERATIONS: P – Parenthesis E – Exponents ) .e. slope is a rate of change.

multiply by a 100. divide by 100 and to convert a decimal to percentage. there is a 1-0-0 involved somewhere. is not just a funny word we heard about some time during some math class. you must remember to do both the negative and the positive cases. Likewise.5. decreasing something by 50% means multiplying something by 0. do this: 5 5 You could be given a ratio of something as a:b:c:d:e. it doesn’t matter. The parts are still and so on.6 M – Multiplication D – Division A – Addition S – Subtraction PEMDAS (or BODMAS for those of us of European origin). not just SAT. ABSOLUTE VALUES: Whenever you have a problem with absolute values. . but it is a one of the most fundamental rules of theoretical mathematics! PLEASE remember the order of operation for your ALL your math work. In order to convert this scenario to a fraction. | | | | PERCENTAGES: The % sign gives you a hint. 5 5 5 5 5 5 Imagine a problem which says that some string is in ratio of 5:7. To convert a percentage to decimal. 5 5 RATIOS: A ratio is simply a fraction. So think about it. just multiply the number by 1.5. when you want to increase something by 50%.

. mi/hr label says how distance (in miles) of something changes over time (in hours). The label of a rate is EXTREMELY important. the other increases and of one thing decreases. multiplying by some number of hours will tell you how many lawns you did. fraction can be set up as given in case one. Remember that Note that in the above formula. lawn/hour. the other decreases as well. Indirect relationship means when one thing increases. So. you need to know what the “whole” is (i. strings of different lengths. cat food for different cats. the other increases. A negative rate shows decay. When y is 5.) are in ratio a:b:c:d…. A positive rate shows growth. rate would be in units of distance/time. etc. Example 1: x and y are directly related. If the rate was in units of lawn/hour. nm/s. DIRECT-INDIRECT RELATIONSHIP: Direct relationship means when one thing increases. x is 20. obviously.e. etc. x is 20. manuscripts/minute. What is the value of x when y is 40? 5 Example 2: x and y are indirectly related. What is the value of x when y is 40? 5 5 RATES: GENERAL OVERVIEW: A rate is nothing more than a quantity which shows how something changes. the other decreases and when one thing decreases.7 Please understand that when statement “ratio of x to y is a to b” is given. we get distance. fraction being part-over-whole).g. When y is 5. e. The label can be anything. When statement “something (votes for some people. when a time is multiplied by this rate.

lawn/minute. for 1 person. Having to write numbers every step of the way wastes time and makes the work very messy. That is where you should plug in your numbers. machine. tree house/day. buttons/day. Rule 3: Solve the problem given. these problems read more like “SKIP IT”. gallons/second etc. Let us do the problem the right way. Rule 1: Find the individual unit rates i.e. etc. What is the average speed? If you put 5 5 as the answer. I am sure that the computer checking your answers will laugh (even though computers do not understand humour). Example: Some Generic Name goes 100 km at 50 km/hr and then travels 50 km at 65 km/hr. it isn’t so bad. find the amount of work per unit time. but if the information is broken down into small pieces. 5 ⁄ 5 5 5 ⁄ 5 5 ( ) 5 5 5 ⁄ Please note that it is best to work with variables and symbols until the very end.8 So in general: Please note. . In order to find average speed of something. AVERAGE SPEED PROBLEM: The average speed IS NEVER THE ARITHMETIC MEAN OF THE SPEEDS.g. this is not work as in physics work. COMBINED RATE PROBLEMS: When I was a student. pump. work/hr. Rule 2: Combine the individual unit rates to find the total combined working rate. These combined rate problems are some of the hardest to wrap your head around. please calculate the total time for the trip and divide the total distance for the trip by this total time to get the average speed. E.

Person A does something in time a. Some people or things working together over some time. person A and person B do same thing in time ab. how much work does one person or thing do over some amount of time? 3. How fast will the plane fly with just engine B? How long will it take to go 3000 km? 5 ⁄ 5 ⁄ 5 ⁄ Example 3: x people working at the same rate on a project finish the project in h hours. Some individuals or different groups working on something. Example 1: Pump A can remove 1000 liters of water in 10 hours and pump B can remove 750 liters of water in 15 hours. plane flies at 1000 km in 2 hours. When running both engine A and B. How much work can one person do in k hours? (Problem from Red Math Belt) . how fast will they do it together? 2. How much water do they remove working together in one day? ⁄ 5 5 5 ⁄ . All general problems will require similar techniques. This is because there are three types of combined rate problems: 1. 5 5 ⁄ ⁄ Note that it will rate should always be 5 Example 2: A plane running on engine A flies 1000 km in 5 hours.9 The above rules are rather vague (I am working on it). find time for person B alone.

10 ( ( ) ) EXPONENT AND RADICAL RULES: ( ( √ √ ) ) Above rules are extremely important to remember. Following are two example problems which require above rules. Assuming you started with 1 microbe. Having a good understanding of these rules is required to do all exponential growth problems. what is the total count after 6 hours? ( ) ( ) ⁄ ⁄ ( ) 5 5 . Example 1: 5 (5 ) 5 5 5 5 5 ( ) 5 Example 2: A microbe doubles every 45 minutes.

NOTE: the equation MUST be set to 0 before one can proceed with finding solutions. Step 1: multiply a and c. Quadratic formula and factoring equations are two most popular at high school level.11 ( ) ( ) ⁄ 5 QUADRATIC FUNCTIONS: Working with quadratic functions is another extremely important skill you should have learned in high school. What we do for SAT is not just for SAT. Therefore. the probability of getting something wrong is minimized. Whether these solutions are real or complex (imaginary). that is a different discussion entirely. Remember. the degree of the polynomial (the highest power) is equal to the number of solutions the equation must have. these are skills that you will need. SAT is a test to see what you have learned during high school and to see if you are ready to enter the real world. √ Quadratic formula is used for quadratic equations which cannot be factored. The solution to an equation (quadratic or not) is one of the most important disciplines of mathematical study. Example 1: ( ( ) )( ( ) ) Above steps is the minimum amount of work you should put in any factoring problem. Identities to memorize: ( ( ) ) ( )( ) A “solution” to a quadratic equation is a value of x which makes the equation equal to 0. but this method involves a little more writing. Factoring Methods: The following method is exactly the same as the method you have learned. a quadratic equation has 2 solutions (as the highest power is 2). Step 2: find factors of ac which add to b. If you write down all your steps. Step 3: Finish the problem. Above steps may seem value. . Remember. There are a number of ways we can use to find solutions. It is VERY easy to get signs wrong with the usual method. but let us see a few examples.

the quantity .e. .12 Example 2: ( ( )( ) ( ) ) If an equation cannot be factored i. quadratic formula has √ . quadratic equation must be used. no real solutions exist (think about it. you get complex/imaginary numbers). if one takes square root (or an even root) of a negative number. If. there are no integer multiples of ac which add up to b. however.

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