Alexis Avila Founder/President of Prepped & Polished teaches you a helpful backsolving technique for scoring higher on the SAT Math Section.

Plug-in the answer choices usually starting with choice C because it’s the median of the five answer choices. If your first backsolving attempt doesn’t work, eliminate this answer choice and attempt the other answer choices until you find a match. Get our SAT E-Book, FREE!

Transcript (PDF)

Full Word-for-Word Transcription

Hi, everyone. Alexis Avila, founder of Prepped and Polished LLC., here in
Boston, Massachusetts. Now, one way to boost your SAT math score is to back-
solve using the answer choices. So, you can plug in the answer choices into
the problem and not have to worry about setting up complicated equations.

Now, here’s an example of how you can use the back-solving technique to
answer an SAT math question relatively quickly. So if three times quantity
Y minus one over two equals nine over Y minus two, then Y equals what? And
here are the answer choices. So, when you back-solve, you notice the
numbers are going in increasing order from A to E. So, you want to start
with answer choice C because it’s in the middle. Plus, it’s a relatively
easy number to back-solve.

We’re going to plug in one into the answer choices. So, instead of Y, we’re
going to put one to both sides and ask yourself, “Does three times one
minus one, three times zero; does zero equal nine over negative one?” No,
it does not, so you cross out C.

Okay, so answer choice C didn’t work. So, what do you do? Do you go to
answer choice B now and try that, or do you try answer choice D? I’m going
to go to answer choice D because it’s easier to plug in the number four
into the answer choices than it is to plug in negative one. So, if three
times four minus one over two, does that equal nine over four minus two?
So, does three times three over two equal nine over two? Absolutely. It
does. We have a perfect match. You go with answer choice D, and you move on
through the test.

Now, if you wanted to, you could solve this problem the long way, cross-
multiply and get a trinomial, but it will take you longer. Utilize the back-
solving technique with this particular problem, and you’ll solve this
question relatively quickly.

I wish you good luck on your SAT, and I’ll talk to you soon.

Did you find this SAT Math Backsolving tip helpful? Would you consider using this math approach on the SAT test?