Tag Archives: math

Learning the unit circle for the ACT

unit circleOn a handful of ACT math tests, I’ve seen a unit circle question which requires outside knowledge of the coordinates around the circle. I had heard that there is a “hand trick” out there that students can use to recall those coordinates as you climb up and back down around the circle. Today I found a great blog post from “Mrs. B”. Check it out! http://highschoolmathadventures.blogspot.com/2013/08/Unit-Circle-Hand-Trick.html

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Filed under ACT, math

Summary of math concepts (no calc section) on SAT Practice Test #1, New Format

There have been many anxious inquiries about the topics covered on the new SAT, especially the non-calculator math section.

Typical of the ETS writers, there are still plenty of fractions to simplify on this test.  There is also heavy emphasis on understanding how functions work and on systems of equations.

The following is a list of categories topics in the non-calculator section of practice test 1:

  1. substitution
  2. adding/subtracting complex numbers
  3. multi-variable word problems- how to assign the variables correctly
  4. function word problems- how to compose a function
  5. simplifying polynomials via addition/subtraction of like terms
  6. simplifying fractions with polynomials
  7. systems of equations
  8. how to predict points when given a point and a slope
  9. rules of combining like bases and their exponents
  10. equating corresponding coefficients
  11. solutions to single variable quadratic equations
  12. similar triangle ratios
  13. SOH-CAH-TOA
  14. simplifying radicals

This shows a new emphasis on algebra II/trig/pre-calc topics.

Download the new SAT practices from the Khan Academy site.  Here are the answers.

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Save Time and Eliminate Possibilities with These Four SAT Math Grid-In Tips

scantronMath is the toughest part of the perfect SAT score goal for me.  The fact is (and you can check this with the scoring guides at the end of the first four tests in the blue book) there is almost no room for error or blanks.  This is in contrast to the Critical Reading where you can leave three blank and still score an 800!

The tips below are specifically about the 18-question math section(s) on the SAT.  Hopefully you’ve noticed that this section is quite different in appearance than the 16 and 20-question sections.  After question 8, it has a grid-in section with no multi-choice answers!

Did you also realize that the order of difficulty is different?  …that there can be no negative answers? … that you must bubble in the answer, but you don’t have to write it in the squares?  … that you should never try to fill-in a mixed number?

Let’s start with the order of difficulty.  This 18-question section doesn’t go from easy to hard in a straight shot like the other sections; it goes easy to hard from 1-8, then easy to hard from 9-18.  What does that mean for you?  That means if number 7 or 8 is giving you the sweats, you should choose to collect easier points (they are all worth the same, you know!) by starting number 9 in the grid-in and come back to those later.

The second point is simple: there is no option to bubble-in a negative sign, so the answer will NEVER be negative!

The third point is for those of you that are always worried about time- and who isn’t?  If you are confident that you don’t need to handwrite the numbers in order to correctly bubble them in, then don’t handwrite them.  It’s only a suggestion to do so, not a requirement.  The writers don’t want to be blamed because you mis-bubbled 1/3 as 1/(space)3 by accident.

Finally, always bubble in the improper forms of fractions instead of their mixed numeral forms (if they are top-heavy).  In other words, don’t try to bubble 53/4 for “five and three-fourths”.  It will be read as “fifty-three fourths”.  Instead, bubble in the improper version: 23/4.

Remember to work with focus and speed on the math, and make sure to time yourself as you practice the blue book tests.  Best of luck on next Saturday’s test!

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One Japanese Method of Multiplication

An interesting use of line intersections as a way to multiply numbers- but does it take too long in some cases?

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January 16, 2013 · 8:42 pm