There are two kinds of proportionality (some call these problems “variation” problems, but I’m sticking with proportionality) problems that you might see on the SAT: direct and inverse. I’m going to cover both here since I’m in the business of preparing you for any eventuality, but you should know that the the former is much (more…)

# Run-on Sentences and Fragments (featuring The YUNiversity!!!)

A quick note before we begin: I’m positively elated to have teamed up with Tumblr all-star The YUNiversity for this post! Everybody knows that eye-popping visuals are a great boon to students trying to learn otherwise dry material, and nobody does them better. If you like the illustrations he provided for this post, you simply must make (more…)

# Weekend Challenge – Best Band You’ve Never Heard Of Edition

I’ve spruced it up a tad, but an extremely similar question was #17 (not even #20!) on an SAT in 2006. The prize this week (pardon my proselytizing): Someday you will be as good at something as Mike Miller is at songwriting. Put your answers in the comments; I’ll post the solution here Monday. Good luck! UPDATE: (more…)

# Weekend Challenge – June SAT edition

Good luck to all you warriors out there giving it your all one last time before the summer. May your June SAT scores be well worth all your hard work. This weekend’s challenge is a bit of a logic question. The prize if you get it: nobody in your testing room will assault your senses (more…)

# A strong vocabulary is necessary, but not sufficient, for a high CR score.

Credit: the very talented Mike R. Baker I’ve already covered the importance of a good vocabulary, and I hope that you’ve been clicking the red vocabulary links on this site as you meander through. They’re meant to teach you a few good words, and to show you that strong vocabulary doesn’t have to be shoehorned (more…)

# How to approximate lengths with your thumb nail and a pencil

As anyone who’s ever chewed on a pencil knows, it doesn’t take much force to put a dent in a regular old #2 pencil. You might have an opportunity to use this to your advantage on the SAT. Occasionally, a geometry question will appear that asks you to figure out the length of a segment (more…)

# Keep probability questions as simple as you possibly can. Please.

Disclaimers: 1) Probability problems are some of the SAT’s most difficult, but they’re also some of the most rare. There’s a pretty decent chance you won’t see a very hard question like this on your test, so prioritize your prep time; don’t worry too much about this stuff until you’ve really nailed the basics. Ironically, this (more…)

# Practice reading for the main idea.

Jesse Lacey of Brand New. Found this here. It’s important, on the SAT reading section, to be able to nail down the main idea of a passage, even if you’re not sure what every single word means. There’s no quick remedy for this if you’re struggling; you’re just going to have to practice. A lot. (more…)

# Absolute values are rare, PWNable.

Disclaimer: this is really minor stuff as far as how often it appears on the SAT, so if you’re looking for quick tips to really raise your score, I suggest you start elsewhere. This kind of question is pretty rare. I trust you already know the very basics of absolute value: that |5| = 5, (more…)

# Keep track of your units, and you’ll be fine on ratio questions.

Source. So here’s the thing with ratios and proportions on the SAT: they’re really easy. No, seriously, where are you going? Come back! They’re easy, I swear. All you have to do is keep very close track of your units, and you’ll be good to go. That means when you set up a proportion, actually (more…)

# Backsolve, or figure out a much more difficult way to solve these backsolve problems.

It’s important to be ever-cognizant of the fact that on a multiple choice test, one of the 5 answers has to be right. Because of this, it’s sometimes possible to answer a question correctly by starting at the end, and ending at the start. Most in the prep world call this “backsolving,” and it’s even more (more…)

# Figure drawn to scale? Guesstimate that ish.

Here’s an important thing to remember: all figures on the SAT are drawn to scale unless indicated otherwise. In other words, if it doesn’t say “Note: figure not drawn to scale,” underneath it, it is drawn to scale. Most figures on the SAT are drawn to scale, which means it’s a good idea to guesstimate whenever (more…)

# Shaded Regions

If you’ve ever sat down and taken a practice (or real) SAT, you’ve come across shaded region questions. They’re among the most iconic question types on the test, so much so that you may find that the memory of them remains with you long after your SAT taking days have passed. True story: I had (more…)

# Right Triangles

So, I trust by now you know what’s going on with regular triangles, and with angles in general. Right triangles get a post all to themselves because they’re special, and have some rules of their very own. Let’s dig in, shall we? Ancient Greece was awesome. First, let’s briefly review the Pythagorean theorem. You know (more…)

# Angles and Non-Right Triangles

Before we get into triangles, we need to take a very quick look at the ingredients of a triangle: line segments and angles. Please tell me you already know this stuff: We good? Cool. Prove it: In the figure above, AE, BS, CG, DS, and FS intersect at point S. Which of the following (more…)