Calculators and SAT

The SAT has a policy on calculator use to promote the idea that students need to be able to analyze and solve math problems both with and without a calculator. One math section will allow you to use a calculator, while the other will require you to solve the problems without it.

Some SAT question types are designed based on the idea that students will do some or all of the work using calculator. Although you are allowed to use calculator in this section, it is not always effective to solve all the problems with it. As a test taker you should know what to look for so you can identify when calculator use is advantageous. Questions involving statistics, determining roots of complicated quadratic equation, and other topics are generally designed with this.

Other questions aren’t intentionally designed to involve calculator use. Solving some questions with calculator can save your time and energy, but turning to it for simplest computations will cost your time. Your calculator will come in handy when you need to work with formulas (volume, distance, arc length, etc) and/or want to check your work.

Thinking critically about when use calculator will save your time. Do exercises and practice solving questions so by the time your test day arrives, you’ll be in habit of using your calculator as effectively as possible!

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