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Using Testing Strategies on the SAT Math

In today’s blog, we will look at how you can use one of the testing strategies we teach our students to handle problems on the SAT Math. Consider the problem below from the College Board’s SAT Practice Test 7.

There are a few ways to tackle this problem. One strategy we teach our students is to use backsolving. This is when we plug in the answer choices to see if the solution works. When we have a working solution, we have our answer. If we plug the values for answer choice A, they both work for the first equation, but not for the second equation: in the second equation:


Equation 1: -3 = 0 - 3 is a true statement

Equation 2: -3/2 + 2(0) = 6 is not a true statement, so answer choice A cannot be our answer.


If we plug in the values for answer choice B, they work for both equations:


Equation 1: 0 = 3-3 is a true statement

Equation 2: 0/2 + 2(3) = 6 is also a true statement, so our correct answer is answer choice B.


We also teach our students to find the shortest possible solution doing the least amount of math. In this case, a shorter way to solve this is to substitute the value for x (y - 3) of the first equation for x in the second equation:


y-3/2 + 2y = 6 Doing one extra step to get rid of the fraction, we’ll multiply both sides by 2:

Y-3 + 4y = 12 When we solve this, we’ll get y = 3. Only answer choice B has y = 3 as a solution.


Next time, we’ll show you how to use a testing strategy to tackle a question on the SAT Reading. If you liked this blog, be sure to check out our website, www.iescentralmass.net , look out for our upcoming YouTube channel, and like us on Facebook and Instagram. And if you think we can help your child, please give us a call at 508-213-8421 or email us at info@iescentralmass.net.


About the Author:

John Marderosian is the founder, owner, and operator of Innovative Education Solutions. He has more than 15 years of experience improving student outcomes and closing achievement gaps, as well as increasing the capacity of teachers to accomplish the same with their students.


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