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SAT Math Topics

SAT Math Topics

SAT Math Topics
While the math section doesn’t place a large emphasis on geometry problems, it does focus on algebra, solving equations, and data interpretation from tables and graphs. College Board sorts the question types into three main categories: Heart of Algebra, Passport to Advanced Math, and Problem Solving and Data Analysis (they apparently gave up on the creative naming once they reached the third category).

These three realms describe about 90% of the SAT math questions. The remaining 10% are simply called Additional Topics, and they mainly include geometry, basic trigonometry, and complex numbers.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these categories by going over the SAT math topics and skills they test. After a description of each one, you’ll see three official sample practice questions from College Board. 

Heart of Algebra
SAT math questions in the Heart of Algebra category have to do with linear equations, inequalities, functions, and graphs. Below are the official topics as defined by College Board, followed by a summary of tasks you’ll need to be prepared for to tackle these questions and some example problems.

Official Topics
Solving linear equations and linear inequalities (in these expressions, x is a constant or the product of a constant)
Interpreting linear functions
Linear inequality and equation word problems
Graphing linear equations
Linear function word problems
Systems of linear inequalities word problems
Solving systems of linear equations

Summary of Tasks
Use multiple steps to simplify an expression or equation or solve for a variable.
Solve for a variable within functions or systems of inequalities with two variables (usually x and y).
Determine whether a given point is in a solution set or what value would make an expression have no solution.
Select a graph that shows an algebraic equation, or, on the flip side, choose the equation that describes a graph.
Indicate how a graph would be affected by a given change in its equation.

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