Tag Archives: math

To say that I hated math growing up would be like saying that the sun is hot. I despised math. I dreaded math class every single school day from the ages of 8 to 18. There are 180 school days in a year, and assuming each class lasts an hour, that’s 180 hours per year. Over a period of 10 years, I spent 1800 hours, not even counting homework, wishing I was doing anything else but math. But, I just sat down and did math, if only to drive home a point. And, it was kind of fun. I crunched the numbers and figured out how much time I spent hating math, and realized I don’t actually hate it anymore. What changed? It turns out that math isn’t boring; math classes are–or at least were in my case. I couldn’t tell you why, but math is the one subject that…

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If you take a look at the anatomy of the SAT, you’ll see that it has two math sections: one where you’re allowed to use a calculator, and one where you’re not. Lots of students wonder, “What’s the point? Why not let test-takers use a calculator the whole time, or else not allow them at all?” The answer is that the two sections test different–but equally important–sets of skills that will serve you well throughout your college and professional career. Students have heard all about why they should learn to do math without a calculator, but a lot of it boils down to, “You won’t always have a calculator in the real world!” Except it’s 2022, and we all carry whole computers in our pockets, so that doesn’t hold water anymore. Getting good at mental math is important for reasons that many teachers don’t really articulate: At its core, math…

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Of all the academic choices a student entering eight grade or high school must make, math course selection exerts the most influence on future choices. Some of the biggest considerations include the following questions: What should drive math course selection? How do grade level, accelerated, and gifted tracks differ? Can students change tracks in high school? What are the implications of math course selection for SAT and ACT scores? Should advanced math students choose calculus or statistics? What should a student, parent, or counselor consider when weighing the options? To clarify the process of choosing high school math courses strategically. I spoke to author and math expert Richard Corn. Richard Corn has helped hundreds of middle school and high school students with their studies in mathematics and with preparation for standardized tests. When students complained about the quality of the prep books sold by big box publishers, Richard decided to…

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Far too often, we evaluate math ability in high schoolers solely on the basis of grades and level of math learned. A more accurate assessment of a student’s potential on challenging math tasks–including those posed on tests like the SAT and ACT–should consider mathematical maturity. For clarity on the link between mathematical maturity and test success, I turned to author and test prep professional Dr. Steve Warner. Dr. Steve Warner, Ph.D has two decades of experience in general math tutoring and tutoring for standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, and AP Calculus exams. He has tutored students both individually and in group settings. In February 2010, Dr. Warner released his first SAT prep book The 32 Most Effective SAT Math Strategies, and in 2012 founded Get 800 Test Prep. Since then Dr. Warner has written books for the SAT, ACT, SAT Math Subject Tests, AP Calculus exams,…

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Critics of standardized tests often paint those assessments as aloof from everyday exercises of knowledge and learning, conveniently ignoring the primacy of reading and written communication in most activities. That’s right: tests like the SAT and ACT evaluate the kind of reading and writing skills that matter in school, work, and life. Math, however, seems to be more of a disconnect; how often do you need trigonometry or geometric theorems in your non-scientific day-to-day? However, tests like the SAT and ACT do assess math skills and knowledge that matter beyond high school, from broad conceptual quantitative literacy to creative problem solving. One more oft-overlooked skill that carries into real life is modeling, the application of math skills to answer questions about real world situations. What are some common examples of modelling? How much does a shirt with a retail price of $40 cost during a 30%-off sale? How long will…

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Your graphing calculators are powerful tools, but do you know how to use them effectively on the SAT and the ACT? This summer, I participated in a teacher training with Texas Instruments on the use of the TI-Nspire on the ACT. Most of my fellow participants were classroom teachers. Many of these teachers said that they personally do not teach their students the full use of their calculators, because the teachers want their students to master the math on their own. While this reasoning is understandable for classroom teachers, it can harm their students on the tests. Students need to know the most effective ways of using their calculator to get their best scores on the SAT Calculator Math and ACT Math sections. You can use these skills on the TI-Nspire to maximize your time. Something as simple as getting an answer in the right form for the test can…

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