There are three different kinds of SAT math sections, and it’s important to know which kind you’re working on. Lucky for you, it’s super easy to check without even having to flip through the section. Just look to the top of the first page of the section to see how many questions there are.

If the first page tells you there are 20 questions, then they’ll all be multiple choice, and go from easy to hard. By number 16 or 17, you’ll probably be into difficulty 4 or 5 questions.

If the first page tells you there are 18 questions, it’s a grid-in section. Questions 1–8 will be multiple choice and get increasingly difficult—numbers 7 and 8 will probably be difficulty 4 or 5. Questions 9–18 will be grid-in questions; they will start easy and become increasingly difficult again—numbers 16–18 are likely to be difficulty 4 or 5.

Grid-in sections are the important ones to identify—they’re the reason I wrote this post. If you’re doing any strategic skipping, recognizing grid-in sections is of paramount importance. Even if you’re not planning to do any strategic skipping, you should be conscious of how much time you’re spending on hard questions 7 and 8 while easy grid-in questions remain unanswered. Remember, easy questions are more important than hard ones.

The last math section will be section 8, 9, or 10, and will always be 16 multiple choice questions, going from easy to hard once. This section will be 20 minutes instead of 25 (for regular time students). Questions 14–16 will probably be difficulty 4 or 5.

Comments (3)

Just don’t forget to go back and do 7/8 if you choose to skip it!

In any case, would you recommend temporarily skipping 7/8 and going back to it, just to get the easy questions out of the way?

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