SAT Prep Plan Using Calculator - Tips To Use Calculator
Bring a calculator for the SAT math section, but using it correctly is extremely important, and using it incorrectly could actually be more a hinder than a help. Here are some very important tips to remember for your calculator when studying for your big test day.
MAKE SURE IT’S APPROVED
Make sure you check the official college boards SAT Calculator policy on the website to check the (thankfully) extensive list of calculators you are allowed to bring, and the calculator you plan to use is on that list.
In addition, make sure that you are indeed bringing a calculator and not something cell phones, iPods, tablets, etc., anything with a QWERTY keyboard, pen input, or internet access.
It would be very unfortunate to have this very valuable tool taken away because it wasn’t an approved device, so make sure you double-check what is and is not allowed!
BRING IT, BUT DON’T GET USED TO IT
Having a good calculator is not a guarantee that you will score higher on the SAT math section. In fact, you technically do not need to use a calculator on the SAT exam; all and most of the questions are designed not to need one, but the College Board allows you to bring calculator.
Treat it more like a useful tool that will do some things faster calculation for you, but it is no substitute for knowing the math behind what you need to do. Being familiar with the types of questions that will be asked on the section will allow you to know when using it would shave off precious seconds from your test time.
BE FAMILIAR WITH IT
Speaking of being familiar, you want to make sure you know all the ins and outs of your calculator – where all the buttons are, how to clear the display, whether you’re on radians or degrees and how to change that, etc.
If you’re hoping to get as much use as you can out of the calculator, you must be familiar with calculator, If you get a new calculator, do a timed Math section or two. Use it on tests, quizzes, homework, anything to get you comfortable with it and knowing how to get it to do what you need.
KNOW WHEN TO PUT IT DOWN
This can’t be stressed enough. The College Board test writers know that some people love picking up their calculators for every single calculation they need to do, and will purposely ask questions that will throw these people off.
If you feel that you’re having to go into some most-complicated function or program to solve it, you’re probably doing too much work – remember that there is only way to solve it that you don’t require to use a calculator, so take a few seconds to see if you can find that way first.
Definitely use your calculator for speeding up basic arithmetic and some minor other uses, but know when to put it down!
IF YOU’VE GOT A GRAPHING FUNCTION, USE IT
If you’ve got a graphing calculator, you have another little advantage if you come across a graphing question and formula rules have slipped your mind. If they’re asking you to consider the graph of any equation they give you, you can take a few seconds to graph the equation with your calculator and have that help you find whatever it is that they’re asking for.
Again, familiarity is key– know how to do this quickly on your graphing calculator beforehand, but also know when you would need to do this. Sometimes graphing questions can be solved just by eyeballing the graph.
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