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Math Test

The Math Test focuses on the math that matters most to college and career readiness. To succeed on the Math Test, students will need to demonstrate mathematical practices, such as problem solving and using appropriate tools strategically.

Important:

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Every assessment in the redesigned SAT Suite of Assessments will include a Math Test that covers the content, knowledge, and skills described here.

Quick Facts

  • Most math questions will be multiple choice, but some will be student-produced responses (grid-ins).
  • The Math Test is divided into two portions: Math Test – Calculator and Math Test – No Calculator.
  • Some parts of the test present students with a scenario and then ask several questions about it.

Distinctive Features

The Math Test is characterized by questions that:

  • Test mathematical reasoning in a way that reflects the work students are doing in classrooms across the country.
  • Emphasize fluency and understanding.
  • Ask students to solve problems grounded in science, social science, career scenarios, and other real-life contexts.

The test covers all math practices, with an emphasis on problem solving, modeling, using appropriate tools strategically, and recognizing and using algebraic structure.

Student-Produced Response Questions

Although most of the questions on the Math Test are multiple choice, a percentage of the questions — from 17 percent to 22 percent, depending on the assessment — are student-produced response questions, also known as grid-ins. Instead of choosing a correct answer from a list of options, students are required to solve problems and enter their answers in the grids provided on the answer sheet.

Sometimes students will be asked several questions about the same scenario, allowing them to dig in to a situation and model it mathematically. These multistep applications reflect the complexity of real-life problem solving in science, social science, and career contexts.

Gridding-In Answers

  • Mark no more than one circle in any column.
  • Only answers indicated by filling in the circle will be scored (students do not receive credit for anything written in the boxes located above the circles).
  • It doesn't matter in which column students begin entering their answers; as long as the responses are recorded within the grid area, students will receive credit.
  • The grid can hold only four decimal places and can only accommodate positive numbers and zero.
  • Unless a problem indicates otherwise, answers can be entered on the grid as a decimal or a fraction.
  • Fractions like 3 over 24 do not need to be reduced to their lowest terms.
  • All mixed numbers need to be converted to improper fractions before being recorded in the grid.
  • If the answer is a repeating decimal, students must grid the most accurate value the grid will accommodate.

Below is a sample of the instructions students will see on the test.

Example 1: If your answer is a fraction such as seven twelfths, it should be recorded as follows. Enter seven in the first space, the fraction bar (a slash) in the second space, one in the third space, and two in the fourth space. All four spaces would be used in this example.  Example 2: If your answer is a decimal value such as two point five, it could be recorded as follows. Enter two in the second space, the decimal point in the third space, and five in the fourth space. Only three spaces would be used in this example.  Example 3: Acceptable ways to record two thirds are: two slash three, point six six six, and point six six seven.

Calculator Use

Students will be allowed to use a calculator on one of two portions of the Math Test. Calculators are important mathematical tools, and to succeed after high school, students have to know how to use them effectively and appropriately. In the Math Test – Calculator portion of the test, students can use their calculator to make computations more efficiently, enabling them to focus on complex modeling and reasoning. However, the calculator is a tool that students must use strategically, deciding when to use it — and when not to. There will be some Calculator: Permitted questions that can be answered more efficiently without a calculator. In these cases, students who make use of structure or their ability to reason will most likely reach the solution more rapidly than students who use a calculator.

The Math Test – No Calculator portion of the test makes it easier to assess students’ fluency in math and their understanding of some math concepts. It also tests well-learned technique and number sense.

Components of Mathematical Proficiency

The Math Test assesses fluency with mathematical procedures, conceptual understanding, and applications with equal intensity, as they are the primary components of mathematical proficiency.

Fluency

For the Math Test, “fluency” is a skill in carrying out procedures flexibly, accurately, and efficiently with strategic competence. That is, students are expected to demonstrate a reasonable quickness when solving problems by identifying and using the most efficient solution approaches, such as solving a problem by inspection, using their mathematical understanding and skills to find a shortcut, or reorganizing the information given.

Conceptual Understanding

The Math Test requires students to demonstrate conceptual understanding by demonstrating mastery of mathematical concepts, operations, and relations. For example, questions may require making connections between properties of linear equations, their graphs, and the contexts they represent.

Applications

Applications on the Math Test require students to demonstrate the ability to analyze a situation, determine the essential elements required to solve the problem, represent the problem mathematically, and carry out a solution. Application problems are set in the real world. Many of these problems are set in academic and career settings and are likely to draw from the sciences and social sciences.

Sample Questions

Math Test questions focus on the areas that research shows are used most often in a wide range of majors and careers.

Learn about the Math Test firsthand by viewing sample questions for the redesigned SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, and PSAT 10. Each assessment will include questions in the following four domains: