SAT Math: understanding Math Patterns

Excelling on SAT math is based on understanding the "math patterns" that the College Board repeatedly tests. Our experience with the SAT extends back more than 30 years. During that time the SAT has been revised three times, but the way the math is presented and tested has remained remarkably unchanged.

The “Special Sauce”: Math Patterns

On some of the most challenging problems, students must know (in a glance) what the solution method will be - even before knowing what the question is asking. Students are taught to recognize these repeated patterns and use the most efficient solution methods to solve each problem type.


Reading the Passage

Answering the Questions

Finding the Correct Answer Choice


Most students have little trouble reading the passage. Most also (when they take the time) have little trouble answering the questions. What bedevils almost all students, however, is finding their answer among the choices as presented by the test.


Students routinely know the answer to questions in concrete terms. The answer choices however are as often as not presented in abstract terms.


An example: In a passage about a young man proposing marriage to a young woman, the first question is, “… what happens in the passage?”. The answer as presented is not, “A young man proposed marriage to a young woman.” – even though that’s exactly what happened – but, “One character receives a surprising request from another character.


This makes the ultimate challenge on SAT Reading questions: “How to avoid picking a wrong answer while in the process of searching for the one that is right”? 

And that’s where we spend most time with students - developing the skills needed to find the correct answer in an unfamiliar form, and learning a process to eliminate wrong answers that might seem attractive.

Outline of an sat prep program

To achieve an exceptional score: 700-800 in each section

(or improve 100-200 points per section)

Primary Study Material:

8 practice tests published by the College Board

STEP 1 (6-8wks):

Learn the material on the College Board Tests - do and review every test

STEP 2 (4-6wks):

Performance Training - drill through the tests

STEP 3 (2-4wks): 

Validation - take proctored practice tests