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Homepage Home > Testing > The SAT > About the Test > SAT Test Sections > Mathematics Section

Mathematics Section

Question format, types, and content on the SAT

Mathematics questions can have two formats:

  • Multiple-choice questions
  • Student-produced response questions

Here is a breakdown of the question types and content covered:

Question types # of QuestionsTime
Standard multiple-choice 44 Two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section
Student-produced response 10
  Total: 54 Total: 70 minutes

The content of the mathematics questions falls into four general categories:

Content # of Questions
Numbers and operations 11–13
Algebra and functions 19–21
Geometry and measurement 14–16
Data analysis, statistics, and probability 6–7

Student-produced responses

In one of the 25-minute mathematics sections, there will be 10 questions that have no answer choices provided. Students must solve the problem and fill in the answer on a special grid.

It is very important for students to understand the directions for entering answers on the grid. The format is described in the test book, but students will lose valuable time if they struggle to understand what the section requires during the actual test.

To answer these questions, students must:

  • Write numbers that range from 0 to 9999 (including decimals and fractions) on the grid
  • Write the form of the answer that they obtain naturally in solving the problem:
    • Whole numbers
    • Fractions
    • Decimals

Here is what students will see on the answer sheet for student-produced response questions:

 

Students can view explanations of how to write their answers on the grid in the student area of this site. Urge them to practice entering whole numbers, fractions, and decimals as well as answers to questions about money and other special formats.

Number and operations questions

About a quarter of the mathematics questions address the following concepts:

  • Arithmetic word problems (including percent, ratio, and proportion)
  • Properties of integers (even, odd, prime numbers, divisibility, and so forth)
  • Rational numbers
  • Sets (union, intersection, elements)
  • Counting techniques
  • Sequences and series (including exponential growth)
  • Elementary number theory

Practice number and operations questions are provided on the student pages of this site.

Algebra and functions questions

Just over a third of the mathematics questions address the following concepts:

  • Substitution and simplifying algebraic expressions
  • Properties of exponents
  • Algebraic word problems
  • Solutions of linear equations and inequalities
  • Systems of equations and inequalities
  • Quadratic equations
  • Rational and radical equations
  • Equations of lines
  • Absolute value
  • Direct and inverse variation
  • Concepts of algebraic functions
  • Newly defined symbols based on commonly used operations

Practice questions for algebra and functions are provided on the student pages of this site.

Geometry and measurement questions

Just over a quarter of the mathematics questions address the following concepts:

  • Area and perimeter of a polygon
  • Area and circumference of a circle
  • Volume of a box, cube, and cylinder
  • Pythagorean theorem and special properties of isosceles, equilateral, and right triangles
  • Properties of parallel and perpendicular lines
  • Coordinate geometry
  • Geometric visualization
  • Slope
  • Similarity
  • Transformations

Practice questions for geometry and measurement are provided on the student pages of this site.

Data analysis, statistics, and probability questions

A little more than a tenth of the mathematics questions address the following concepts:

  • Data interpretation (tables and graphs)
  • Descriptive statistics (mean, median, and mode)
  • Probability

Practice questions for data analysis, statistics, and probability are provided on the student pages of this site.

Reviewing mathematics concepts

A math review is provided in the SAT Program Mathematics Review (.pdf/1.03MB).  Students can also take a practice test and access more practice materials at SAT Practice.

Customized Entry Pages

HIGHLIGHT

Go to the SAT Downloads and Materials Ordering page to view and print these and other related materials:

  • Educator Handbook for the SAT and SAT Subject Tests
  • Getting Ready for the SAT
  • Getting Ready for the SAT Subject Tests
  • A Guide for Counselors – SAT and SAT Subject Tests, U.S. edition
  • A Guide for Counselors – SAT and SAT Subject Tests, International edition

Contact

  • SAT Program for K-12
  • Phone: (888) SAT-HELP
  • International: (212) 520-8600
  • Phones are available between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday. Summer hours (from the end of June through August) are 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET). The SAT Program Educator Helpline may be reached by completing this email inquiry form.

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