Can you give me some tips on managing my time in Section 4? What clues as to when using your calculator might be the fastest way to solve the problem in Section 4?
This depends a lot on your level of comfort and speed with your calculator—you have to know what you can do faster by hand and what you can do faster with a calculator. I’m pretty fast with my calculator, so I might decide to graph a system of equations to find its solution instead of solving the system algebraically, while someone else may not save much time that way.
Just scanning through PSAT #2 Section 4 (since I was just answering some questions from this test) I’d use my calculator for the questions listed below. Most of them are pretty mundane and obvious (like using the calculator to multiply or divide large numbers), which I suppose is my point. The opportunities to use the calculator for non-obvious things are not all that common; your decisions about calculator use alone will probably not make a huge difference in your speed over the whole section.
#3: I can do the proportion faster and more accurately with my calculator
#7: This kind of multiplication should definitely be done on a calculator.
#10: Graph both sides of the equation and find the intersection.
#12: Definitely using the calculator to do the division here.
#13: Yep, using the calculator for unit conversion.
#16 and #17: Would certainly use the calculator for division.
#20: I might graph just to make sure I’m doing my factoring right.
#24: I’d plug in values for radii here and use the calculator for all my calculations.
#27: Would definitely graph these equations to find their intersection.
#29: Would maybe graph these equations.
#30 and #31: Would use a calculator for all the arithmetic here.