How to Get an 800 on the SAT Math for College

Are you hoping to make an 800 on the SAT math section? If so, it’s going to take a solid action plan on your part.

High SAT scores look great on your college applications and can open many doors and lead to potential scholarships for you. It makes sense to put the extra effort in to get your scores as high as possible.

Do you want to get into the college of your choice? Here are some tips to help you score 800 on the math section of the SAT. 

Understand the Math Content

As you take the SAT, you want to be able to instantly draw on your background knowledge in math. If you have to try to remember the Pythagorean Theorem or how to solve quadratics, you will waste precious time.

If you don’t use your time wisely, you will lower your chances of getting a perfect score. So brush up on your math content now, so it comes to you as you need it during the exam.

But you should not just memorize processes, patterns, and formulas. Make sure you understand them too.

Understand How to Apply Math Content 

The math section of the SAT is vocabulary heavy. At first glance, you may think it’s a reading test rather than a math test. Be prepared with a thorough understanding of the math vocabulary you may see.

The key is being able to weed through all the verbiage and dig right into straightforward math problems. You have to be ready to quickly assess what’s important and what’s not and focus on the math.

Practice Makes Perfect

Getting good at the math section takes practice. You want to work through as many practice tests as possible. 

This can help you get a picture of the variety of problems on the SAT and the types of problems you typically miss. There’s a wide range of problems on the exam, so the more you can work through these, the better and faster you will be on test day.

Use Multiple Choice to Your Advantage

The SAT is a multiple choice test, and that’s good news for you. You can use this fact to your advantage.

On many problems, you can test out the various answer choices. Instead of trying to do it all yourself, get started and then plug in the answers to find one that works.

When you find one, you’re done, and you’ve saved some time. Although this won’t work on all questions, it will with some.

Break down the Questions

Being able to dissect the questions on the SAT or ACT will help you improve your math and reading scores. Rather than trying to understand the question as a whole, you want to break it down into parts.

When you can break down a difficult math problem into digestible parts, you have a better chance of finding your way to the correct final answer. As you work through a problem, write down the information as you go.

Do not rely on mental math only, which will consume your energy.

Do the Math on Paper

Too often, test takers try to do mental math throughout the SAT math section. This only works well for questions that are easy for you.

You may be a whiz at math, but doing multiple calculations in your head is exhausting. Smart test takers delegate their thinking.

That means, use paper and your calculator whenever you can. 

Use Your Calculator

Use your calculator to avoid having to do long division and multiplication problems which waste time. But be careful!

It’s very easy to make an input error, especially when you are in a rush. This can lead to a wrong answer or confusion about which answer to choose.

Use your calculator but don’t rely on it completely. You should use your calculator when it’s appropriate as you work through SAT practice tests.

This helps you recognize when to use it and when you don’t need it. There are some great online calculators to help you prepare you for the SAT as well.

But remember, there is a section of the SAT where calculators aren’t permitted. So, don’t forget to brush up on your methods for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.

Reread Questions

If you feel confused as you read a question or you get stuck halfway through, reread the question. You may have missed pertinent information that will clarify the question for you.

The key is to figure things out quickly. You don’t want to spend long periods of time thinking and trying to figure out a question. 

Instead, reread the question, write things down, and work through it on paper.

Trust Your Reasoning

For many questions, you will be able to determine the approximate answer or the answer within a specific range. If you work through a problem and the answer seems out of proportion, go back and do it again.

You can go back over your reasoning and computation. If you can catch your mistakes, you will learn to avoid them in the future and increase your overall score.

Trust your radar. If something seems wrong, it probably is. 

Plug in Your Own Number

This method can be effective if your answer choices are letters or variables instead of numbers. You can plug in your own numbers for variables in the question.

As you work through the question, you will see which answer choices match your own.

Watch out for “Must Be True” Problems

If you must choose an answer that “must be true,” it must be 100% true all of the time. It can’t be “possibly” true.

If there’s a scenario where the answer isn’t true, do not pick “must be true.” If you see a “could be true” question the answer choice that is true at least one time, that will be your answer.

If the answer choice is never true, eliminate it. With these types of questions, reading and reasoning are key to choosing the correct answer.

Good Luck on SAT Math

These are a few tips you can use to maximize your SAT math score. It takes lots of hard work and repetition to score high on the SAT.

Be sure to do plenty of practice tests and online tutorials. And as you prepare for the big day, check out our website and helpful online tools too. 

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