Sorry for the delay in getting the 10th tactic out to you, but without further ado, here it is!
If you’ve read our last post “Let the answers guide you” we talked about looking at the answers to give you a clue on what steps to take to solve the problem. In this post we want to take it a step further. Again, we are focusing on the multiple choice problems with our tactics as they give us the greatest chance at getting the correct answers and getting to the ultimate goal of scoring over a 600 on the math section of the SAT. Let’s get into it…
There are situations and questions that will be asked on the SAT that for one reason or another we will not be sure how to answer. The difference between getting a 500 and a 600 can be as simple as getting the answer to a small fraction of those questions. So, what is the strategy to get those questions correct? One thing I focus on when working with students is to identify what you DO know and apply that to the question. A student may not know how to “properly” work through an absolute value problem like this.
However, if we can apply the knowledge that an absolute value is always going to be positive, then we can rule out answers B,C, and D as adding 1 to any positive number will never equal 0. What about a problem where it cannot be solved by rationally thinking through the information? Let’s take a look
What do we do if we have a brain cramp in the middle of the test and cannot for the life of us remember how to do a system of equations? Please note that this question is one of the ones that we “should” be able to get correct and not in the “hard” section that we should only be allocating time to after we get the easy and medium level questions correct.
For our 10th tactic we take the answers and then plug those back in to the problem to find the answer. Normally we would isolate the x in the first part of the equation and then use that value (6y) to substitute into the second equation. However, we can simply take the answers given and plug those into the problem. So for answer A (2) we can plug that into the second equation. 4(2+1)=x, so x=12. Then we go to the first equation and use that value to see if the answer works. 12/2=6!!! So without knowing how to do systems of equations we now know that the answer is A and we have another question correct. Here is another example…
This is a tough question and is actually the last multiple choice question in section 3 of a past SAT. That being said, I want to walk you through how to plug in the answers to get the correct choice. If we notice that the (⅓) is only applied to the x^2 portion of the equation we know that the x^2-2 should actually be x^2-6. (Multiplying by 3 gets rid of the ⅓ and 2x3=6) We plug in the given answers and are trying to find out which one gives us the expression x^2-6.
Let’s start with A… (x-2)(x+2)= x^2-4 so we know that is NOT the right answer. That being said, we can use that as a hint at what the correct answer must be. So, if we then skip down to D and apply that answer you get the following
(x-√6)(x+√6)= x^2-6= ⅓ x^2-2!!!
While this tactic will not work for ALL questions, it is a great way to be able to get that extra question or two or three right that we might have missed out on. As always, I hope these help you reach your goal, but if there are issues that you are running into that we can help with, please shoot us an email!