Alexis Avila, Founder/CEO of Prepped and Polished gives math hacks to help propel your SAT math score. Enjoy the tips!

One thing that most students do incorrectly with the math calculator section is either under or overutilize their calculator. What we wanna try and do when we’re going through the math calculator section is make the most out of what we see as important aspects of the test that require and/or benefit from using of the calculator.

Now, for most students that I’m working with, I suggest that they use the calculator for two situations. One, large-scale computations, and two, graphing. Though, you do need to know when how to do it correctly. Let’s give an example. Let’s say you’re finding out the probability or they’re asking you to solve for value in a systems of equations question that deals with either larger values or less traditional values. For example, in a systems of equation question, they start dealing with fractions and decimals that aren’t quite as nice or a probability question that deals with larger values greater than, let’s say 100, but not “nice values,” as I like to phrase it.

Large-scale computations

This would be an instance where I would recommend utilizing the calculator, just in terms of the calculations to avoid any possible calculation error that a student might do while writing it out. Of course, if they’re going to the calculator to use this, they wanna make sure that they’re inputting it correctly, which can have its drawbacks if a student incorrectly inputs it and/or takes too long to input it. However, in a situation where you’re trying to figure out the probability six-tenths, that is something you should be able to do without a calculator versus something like 275 out of 644. That might require a little bit more probability or calculation that quickly can be done on the calculator.


Now, the second instance that I talked about is instances where we are graphing. Let’s go back to our systems of equations question. Let’s say we are dealing with a system of equation that has not the kindest coefficients or constants in terms of our X, Y variables, and/or our Y intercept that we’ll later identify in our standard for the equation. Instead of trying to do all the math out, create a slope intercept form, or a y equals mx plus b format, we can, at that point, plug in the equation into our calculator, graph the two lines, and find the point of intersection through a couple of quick keystrokes on the calculator.

Now, a lot of times students might not be aware of this, so it’s good practice to have the student work with your tutor, whether it be through “Prepped and Polished” or a different company, and really work on identifying those quick keystrokes to get to that point in the calculator, depending on what brand they’re using, to then answer that question accordingly. This also works really well with parabolas and linear equations trying to find out the number of intersection points and what those intersection points are.

What is your biggest takeaway from this vlog about Tips and Tricks to Catapult your Math Score? Do you have any questions for Alexis?

Post your tips/comments below.

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