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.

One way to boost your SAT math score is to backsolve 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.

Here’s an example of how you can use the backsolving 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 backsolve, 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 backsolve.

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 backsolving 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?