Master Algebra: Essential Guide for March SAT Math

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Master Algebra: Essential Guide for March SAT Math

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. SAT Summer Study Plan
  3. Cheat Sheet for SAT
  4. Housekeeping for Studying
  5. Combining, Separating, and Simplifying Fractions
  6. Simplifying Fractions Within a Fraction
  7. Flipping Fractions
  8. Square Expansions
  9. Simplifying Square Roots
  10. Removing Square Roots
  11. Isolating Variables
  12. Matching Coefficients
  13. Clearing Denominators
  14. Simplifying Complicated Expressions
  15. Exponent and Radicals Basics
  16. Structure of Exponents
  17. Distribution of Exponents
  18. Converting Negative Exponents
  19. Fractional Exponents
  20. Adding and Subtracting Exponents
  21. Multiplying Exponents
  22. Matching Bases
  23. Simplifying Radicals
  24. Adding and Subtracting Radicals
  25. Multiplying and Dividing Radicals
  26. Percent Basics
  27. Finding Percent of Something
  28. Finding Percent Decrease/Increase
  29. Calculating Percent Change
  30. Common Mistakes in Percent Calculation

Cheat Sheet for SAT Math

Hey there! Are You looking to improve your SAT Math scores? Look no further! In this article, we'll provide you with a comprehensive cheat sheet that covers all the important math concepts you need to know for the SAT. Whether you're just starting your SAT prep or you're already studying, this cheat sheet will be invaluable in helping you boost your scores. So, let's dive in and explore the key math concepts you need to master for the SAT!

SAT Summer Study Plan

Before we get into the details of the cheat sheet, let's talk about the SAT Summer Study Plan. If you haven't already started studying, don't worry! We've got you covered. In the description box below, you'll find a link to our SAT Summer Study Plan video. This study plan provides a step-by-step guide to help you Raise your SAT score over the summer. It's a must-watch for anyone looking to improve their SAT performance. So, make sure to check it out and get started on your path to success!


The SAT Math section covers a wide range of topics, from algebra to geometry, functions, and advanced concepts. To excel in this section, it's crucial to have a solid understanding of the basic math concepts that frequently appear on the SAT. In this cheat sheet, we'll cover everything you need to know, step by step. So, let's begin our Journey by discussing the fundamental concepts of fractions and how to combine, separate, and simplify them.

Combining, Separating, and Simplifying Fractions

When it comes to fractions, it's important to know how to effectively combine, separate, and simplify them. Combining fractions involves converting multiple fractions into a single fraction. For example, if you have $\frac{1}{2} + \frac{1}{3}$, you can combine them to get $\frac{5}{6}$. On the other HAND, separating fractions involves dividing a single fraction into multiple fractions. For instance, if you have $\frac{2}{6}$, you can separate it into $\frac{1}{3} + \frac{1}{6}$. Lastly, simplifying fractions is the process of reducing them to their simplest form. For example, $\frac{6}{18}$ can be Simplified to $\frac{1}{3}$. By mastering these techniques, you'll be able to tackle any fraction-related questions on the SAT.

Simplifying Fractions Within a Fraction

Sometimes, you'll encounter fractions within fractions on the SAT. Knowing how to simplify these expressions is crucial. For instance, if you have $\frac{\frac{1}{2}}{\frac{3}{4}}$, you want to simplify it to $\frac{2}{3}$. The key is to convert the complex expression into a single term over a single term. This skill will come in handy when dealing with complex algebraic expressions on the SAT. Make sure to practice simplifying fractions within fractions to ensure you're prepared for any related questions.

Flipping Fractions

Flipping fractions is another important skill to master. This technique is particularly useful when you need to find the value of a variable within a fraction. Instead of solving for the variable and then substituting it back into the equation, you can simply flip the fraction. For example, if you have $\frac{a}{2} = \frac{2}{3}$ and need to find $\frac{2}{a}$, you can flip both sides of the equation to get $\frac{2}{8} = \frac{3}{2}$. This saves time and simplifies the problem. Remember to use the technique of flipping fractions when appropriate to streamline your calculations on the SAT.

Square Expansions

Understanding square expansions is crucial for tackling SAT Math questions that involve exponents. There are three common square expansions you should be familiar with: $(a+b)^2$, $(a-b)^2$, and $a^2 - b^2$. Knowing these expansions will help you simplify complex expressions and solve equations more efficiently. For example, if you encounter $(x+2)^2$, you can expand it to $x^2 + 4x + 4$. Similarly, if you come across $a^2 - 9$, you can factor it as $(a+3)(a-3)$. Having a firm grasp of square expansions will undoubtedly enhance your SAT Math performance.

Simplifying Square Roots

The SAT often tests your ability to simplify square roots. Knowing how to simplify expressions like $\sqrt{16}$ and $\sqrt{12}$ is essential. The simplified form of $\sqrt{16}$ is $4$, while $\sqrt{12}$ can be written as $2\sqrt{3}$. Understanding the rules and Patterns behind simplifying square roots will help you quickly solve related questions on the SAT.

Removing Square Roots

Sometimes, you'll encounter equations with square roots that you need to simplify. It's important to know the correct method for removing square roots to solve these equations. Simply squaring both sides of the equation is not the correct approach. Instead, you should isolate the square root term, and then square both sides of the equation. This will enable you to remove the square root while maintaining the accuracy of the equation. Avoid the common mistake of squaring the entire equation, as it can lead to incorrect results.

Isolating Variables

Isolating variables is a key skill that you must master for SAT Math. When faced with an equation that involves multiple variables, you need to isolate the variable you're solving for on one side of the equation. For example, if you're asked to find $y$ in terms of $a$ and $p$ for the equation $\frac{2a}{3p} = y$, you can isolate $y$ by multiplying both sides of the equation by $\frac{3p}{2a}$. This will result in $y = \frac{2a}{3p}$. Being proficient in isolating variables will simplify complex equations and help you find accurate solutions on the SAT.

Matching Coefficients

Matching coefficients is an important skill when dealing with equations that involve multiple terms and variables. For example, if you encounter the equation $x + 2^2 = 12$, and you're asked to find the value of $x$, you can match the coefficients of $x$ on both sides of the equation. In this case, the coefficient is $1$ on the left side and $x$ on the right side. By matching the coefficients, you can determine that $x = 11$. This technique allows you to find solutions quickly and accurately on the SAT.

Clearing Denominators

Clearing denominators is a technique used to solve equations that involve fractions. To clear denominators, you multiply both sides of the equation by the product of the denominators. For example, if you have the equation $\frac{2}{3x} = \frac{5}{4}$, you can clear the denominator by multiplying both sides by $12x$, resulting in $8 = 15x$. By clearing denominators, you simplify the equation and eliminate fractions, making it easier to find the solution.

Simplifying Complicated Expressions

Simplifying complicated expressions is crucial for success on the SAT Math section. When faced with complex expressions, you can simplify the problem by treating the expression as a whole. Instead of writing out every step, you can assign variables to different parts of the expression. This simplifies the problem and reduces the amount of writing required. By treating complicated expressions as a whole, you can save time and effort on the SAT.

Exponent and Radicals Basics

Exponents and radicals are fundamental concepts in SAT Math. Understanding their structure and properties will help you tackle questions involving exponents and radicals more effectively. Let's start by discussing the structure of exponents. An exponent consists of a coefficient, a base, and an exponent. It's important to distinguish between the base and the exponent, as the exponent only applies to the base. For example, in $2^3$, the base is $2$, and the exponent is $3$. Understanding the structure of exponents is crucial for simplifying expressions and solving equations on the SAT.

Distribution of Exponents

The distribution of exponents is an important concept when dealing with multiple terms and exponents. It's crucial to know when to distribute the exponent and when to use the distributive property. For example, when you have $(a+b)^2$, you need to distribute the exponent to both terms, resulting in $a^2 + 2ab + b^2$. On the other hand, when you have $x + 2^2$, you don't distribute the exponent, and the expression remains as $x + 4$. Being proficient in the distribution of exponents will help you simplify complex expressions and solve equations accurately on the SAT.

Converting Negative Exponents

Converting negative exponents to positive exponents is an important skill to master. On the SAT, you cannot have negative exponents in your answer. To convert a negative exponent to a positive exponent, you simply take the reciprocal of the base. For example, $\frac{1}{x^{-2}}$ is equal to $x^2$. Understanding this conversion is essential for simplifying expressions involving negative exponents and avoiding common mistakes on the SAT.

Fractional Exponents

Fractional exponents involve expressing exponents as fractions or radicals. Understanding how to simplify fractional exponents is crucial for solving advanced exponent-related questions. For example, $\sqrt[3]{x^2}$ is equal to $x^{\frac{2}{3}}$. By applying the rules of fractional exponents, you can simplify complex expressions and find accurate solutions on the SAT.

Adding and Subtracting Exponents

Knowing when to add or subtract exponents is a basic skill that will come in handy on the SAT. When you have the same base and you're multiplying, you add the exponents. For example, $2^3 \times 2^4$ is equal to $2^7$. On the other hand, when you're dividing and have the same base, you subtract the exponents. For example, $\frac{4^3}{4^2}$ is equal to $4^1$. Understanding when to add or subtract exponents will simplify calculations and ensure accuracy on the SAT.

Multiplying Exponents

Multiplying exponents is another fundamental skill you need to master. When multiplying exponents, you multiply the exponents while keeping the base the same. For example, $(2^3)^4$ is equal to $2^{3 \times 4}$, which simplifies to $2^{12}$. Understanding this rule will help you simplify complex expressions and solve equations efficiently on the SAT.

Matching Bases

Matching bases is a crucial skill for simplifying expressions involving multiple exponents and variables. When dealing with expressions like $\frac{9^2}{27^3}$, you need to match the bases to work with the exponents effectively. By converting both bases to the same value, you can simplify the expression and find accurate solutions. Understanding how to match bases correctly is essential for solving advanced exponent-related questions on the SAT.

Simplifying Radicals

Radicals, specifically square roots, often appear in SAT Math questions. Knowing how to simplify radicals is necessary to solve these questions efficiently. For example, $\sqrt{16}$ simplifies to $4$, while $\sqrt{12}$ simplifies to $2\sqrt{3}$. Recognizing the patterns and rules for simplifying radicals will help you quickly find solutions on the SAT.

Adding and Subtracting Radicals

Adding and subtracting radicals requires matching the insides of the radicals. If the insides are the same, you can add or subtract the radicals. For example, $\sqrt{9} + \sqrt{16}$ simplifies to $3 + 4 = 7$. However, if the insides are not the same, you cannot perform the operation directly. For instance, $\sqrt{9} - \sqrt{16}$ cannot be simplified further. Understanding when to add or subtract radicals is crucial for accurately solving related questions on the SAT.

Multiplying and Dividing Radicals

Multiplying and dividing radicals involve multiplying or dividing both the inside and outside of the radicals. For example, $2\sqrt{3} \times 3\sqrt{2}$ simplifies to $6\sqrt{6}$. Similarly, $\frac{\sqrt{16}}{\sqrt{4}}$ simplifies to $2$. Understanding how to perform these operations correctly will help you simplify expressions involving radicals and find accurate solutions on the SAT.

Percent Basics

Being familiar with the basics of percentages is essential for SAT Math. A percent represents a portion or fraction of a whole. The common definition of a percent is "part over total." For example, if you want to find what percent of Blue gummy bears exists in a jar with 120 total gummy bears, and 10 are blue, you divide 10 by 120 to get $0.0833$. This decimal is equivalent to $8.33\%$. Understanding the fundamental definition of percentages sets the foundation for solving various percentage-related questions on the SAT.

Finding Percent of Something

Finding a percent of something is a common Type of question on the SAT. To determine the percent of a value, you multiply the value by the percent expressed as a decimal. For example, if you want to find 15% of 50, you multiply $0.15 \times 50 = 7.5$. So, 15% of 50 is equal to 7.5. Being proficient in finding percentages of values is essential when solving SAT Math questions that involve real-world scenarios.

Finding Percent Decrease/Increase

Finding percent decrease or increase is another important skill to master for the SAT. To find the percent decrease, you subtract the initial value from the final value, divide the result by the initial value, and multiply by $100$. Similarly, to find the percent increase, you subtract the initial value from the final value, divide the result by the initial value, and multiply by $100$. It's important to understand the difference between finding a percent of something and finding a percent decrease/increase to accurately solve related questions on the SAT.

Calculating Percent Change

Calculating the percent change involves finding the difference between two values, dividing the result by the initial value, and multiplying by $100$. For example, if the population of a city increased from $120,000$ to $170,000$, you first find the difference $(170,000 - 120,000 = 50,000)$. Then, you divide $50,000$ by $120,000$ and multiply by $100$. The resulting percent change is $41.67\%$. This technique allows you to accurately calculate and interpret percent changes on the SAT.

Common Mistakes in Percent Calculation

Lastly, it's important to be aware of common mistakes that students make when performing percent calculations. One common mistake is assuming that increasing a value by a certain percent and then decreasing it by the same percent will return the value to its original state. However, this assumption is incorrect. To find the percent decrease needed to return a value to its original state, you cannot use the same percentage. Understanding this distinction will help you avoid errors and ensure accurate percent calculations on the SAT.

Congratulations! You now have a comprehensive cheat sheet that covers all the essential math concepts you need to know for the SAT. With this cheat sheet in hand, you'll be well-prepared to tackle any math question that comes your way. Remember to practice, ask questions, and Seek help when needed. Best of luck on your SAT journey!


  • Master the basics of fractions, including combining, separating, and simplifying them.
  • Understand how to simplify fractions within a fraction and flip fractions when needed.
  • Learn square expansions and how to simplify square roots and remove square roots in equations.
  • Practice isolating variables, matching coefficients, and clearing denominators in equations.
  • Gain proficiency in simplifying complicated expressions and dealing with exponents and radicals.
  • Explore various concepts related to percentages, including finding percent of something, percent decrease/increase, and calculating percent change.
  • Be aware of common mistakes in percent calculations.


Q: Can I use this cheat sheet during the SAT exam? A: No, you are not allowed to use any external materials during the SAT exam. This cheat sheet serves as a comprehensive study guide for your preparation.

Q: How should I use this cheat sheet effectively? A: It is recommended to go through each topic and practice related questions to solidify your understanding. Focus on areas where you feel less confident and review the concepts frequently.

Q: Is this cheat sheet suitable for all SAT Math sections? A: Yes, the concepts covered in this cheat sheet are applicable to all sections of the SAT Math exam. However, it's always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the specific question types in each section.

Q: Are there any additional resources I can use to improve my SAT Math skills? A: Yes, there are various SAT Math practice books, online resources, and official SAT practice tests available. Utilize these resources to further enhance your skills and familiarize yourself with the exam format.

Q: Can I expect all the topics Mentioned in this cheat sheet to appear in the SAT Math section? A: The topics covered in this cheat sheet are based on common concepts tested in the SAT Math section. However, it's important to note that the actual exam questions may vary in terms of complexity and focus.

Q: Should I rely solely on this cheat sheet for my SAT Math preparation? A: This cheat sheet provides a comprehensive overview of the key concepts you need to know for the SAT Math section. However, it is recommended to supplement your study with other resources and practice exams to ensure thorough preparation.

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