## As the wheel turns

All this talk about the new SAT is interesting and all, but we’ve still got two years to live with the old one, so let’s get back to our regularly scheduled PWNing. Here’s a minorly important circle fact that I find a lot of students don’t know: when a wheel is rolling—without slipping—it makes travels (more…)

## Corresponding coefficients in equivalent polynomials

…Say what now? This isn’t tested on the SAT all that often, but it has appeared (you’ll find an example in the Blue Book: Test 3 Section 5 Number 8) and I’ve had a bunch of kids tell me lately that they don’t remember ever learning it in school. When you have two polynomials that (more…)

## Prime factorization and the SAT

So this isn’t a super important thing as far as how often it appears on the SAT, but it does pop up time and again, so if you’re shooting for perfection (or close to it) you might want to pay attention. Otherwise, you can get by just fine without this little nugget (but you might (more…)

## Some more highlights from the question writing contest

When I posted that question writing contest a few weeks back, I thought I’d get some pretty good stuff. Because you guys are smart. And then, for a little while, not much happened. I was all </3. But then some great stuff started rolling in and I was all \(*o*)//. I bet, reading this paragraph, (more…)

## Be suspicious of “easy” answers to “hard” questions.

Since you’ve been paying such close attention, you know by now that the difficulty of math questions increases as a section progresses*. On a 20 question section, you can count on #1 to be super easy, #5 to be bit tougher, #10 to require more than a modicum of thought, and #20 to be a (more…)

## Better late than never!

So the question writing contest I proposed a few weeks back didn’t exactly explode onto the scene like I thought it would, but I still think it’s a fantastic way for you to improve your skills, so just FYI: it’s still open. I got the question above in an email the other day. The writer (more…)

## Counting: Oh, the possibilities

Source. One technique-able counting problem type that you might come across on the SAT is what I’ll call a “possibilities” problem*. It might involve cards (but not playing cards – the SAT doesn’t like those), or pictures being lined up on a wall in different orders. Your job will be to determine the number of (more…)

## The counting questions that are really just listing questions

An unfortunate truth about the SAT is that while many questions can be answered with snappy tricks (many of which can be found on these pages), not all of them can. Most “counting” questions (and probability questions, for that matter) fall into this category. Yes, I’m serious. Most. Basically, if you don’t see within 15 (more…)

## One kind of counting question

The SAT will throw two common kinds of “counting” problems your way. I’ll handle one of them in this post. The other kind, well, I’ll get to it when I get to it. 🙂 I like to call this kind of problem a matching problem. It’ll usually involve a bunch of people who all need (more…)

## Weekend Challenge – OMFG IT IS SO HOT.

Guys. It’s apparently going to break 100° today in New York. Seriously. The prize this week for the first correct answer: You will awake in a bathtub of ice, and have no idea how you got there. Your first concern will be a suspicious scar on your abdomen, but that will quickly be replaced by (more…)

## Working in 3-D on the SAT

It’s not uncommon for a question or two involving three-dimensional shapes to appear on the SAT. Luckily, most of the time these questions either deal directly with the simple properties of three-dimensional shapes (like surface area and volume), or are just 2-D questions in disguise. It’s pretty rare to come across a truly difficult 3-D (more…)

## Weekend Challenge – not so impossible edition

I wanted to take it easier on you guys after last week’s hard-as-hell question, so here’s one that could actually appear on an SAT. This week’s prize: you and your future random college roommate will have remarkably similar tastes in music. Trust me — it matters. After m days, the average (arithmetic mean) temperature for (more…)

## Median and Mode on the SAT

Like the average (or, as some say, the arithmetic mean), the median and the mode are useful properties of a set of numbers and can give statisticians great at-a-glance insight into the nature of copious data. When the SAT gets its hands on them, though, they are usually stripped of any analytical utility and instead (more…)