If you wish to gain admission in one of the top colleges, then getting a high SAT score is the first step. Making proper use of the allotted exam time can help you make or break a top score.
We are going to discuss about the importance of calculators in the SAT exam. If you are preparing for the SAT or any exam, having a calculator can help you save a lot of time.
So what kind of calculators are allowed for the SAT exam? There are two main types:
1) Scientific calculators
2) Graphing calculators
Some of the best scientific calculators are Casio fx-300MS, Ti-89, Ti-84, Ti-83. These models are best suited for students appearing for the SAT. It helps them calculate faster and save time.
Use of calculators:
1. Tackling difficult questions:
As a SAT test taker, you can expect questions in the SAT which are set at a difficulty level. These do not test your concept skills, but want to check for speed. The question can be like this:
There are two ways of answering this question:
- If you try to solve it mentally, you might take about 5-6 minutes to get the answer and take up valuable test time.
- If you use a calculator, you can solve the question in a few seconds. This is way better than the first approach.
2. Converting decimals into fractions:
There are questions in the SAT exam that ask you to solve a problem with the use of decimals and fractions. It is good to have a calculator that has the ability to convert decimals to fractions.
Let's say you face a question in the test that leads you get an answer in the decimal form. Now the options for the answer are shown in the fractional form. What do you do?
Here we use the scientific calculator with the function of converting decimals to fraction. The results are available in seconds thus saving more time.
3. Solving graphing questions:
If you have a graphing calculator, you can plot two graphs and find their point of intersection. You can also solve equations which need graph data to get the answer.
Plotting points for graphs and drawing lines to get the answer is a lengthy process. It will be better if you can plug the function into the calculator and select the right answer.
You can select the right graph from the list of choices after checking on the calculator. This way you save a lot of time in the test.
What you must remember on the SAT Test Day:
1. Do not forget to bring a calculator:
You can bring calculators that are approved by the College Board. It is a must for the exam and in line with the College Board policies. You can solve questions faster and get accurate results. This helps you save time and improve your score.
2. Check the batteries of the calculator:
You must check the battery of the calculator you plan to take to the exam center. Make sure it has enough charge to last the entire duration of the test.
If you do not check the battery of the calculator, there might be chances it may die during the test. This can cause a lot of stress and no one will be able to help you.
It is better to be well prepared for the test by carrying a charged up calculator to the exam center. You do not have to waste time waiting for help as there will be none.
3. Know your calculator well:
It is useful to be familiar with the functions of the calculator well before the test even begins. There will be questions that need you to use the calculator for complex tasks.
When you face such a situation, it is always better to carry a familiar calculator. You know exactly where the buttons for certain functions are and when they should be used.
It is better to use a calculator which you have used to practice for tests and assignments. A familiar calculator will always be better than an unknown one.
4. Check what you enter in the calculator:
It is better to use a calculator that has an entry line. You must check what data you type in the entry line. This is to prevent any typing error which may lead to incorrect results.
There are instances where students enter one incorrect digit which can alter the result. This not only gives a wrong answer but you end up using more time to re-enter the data.
It takes a little care and a few seconds to check what we are typing and this can help us score better in the test.
5. Use the calculator only when needed:
If a question can be solved using mental math skills, then there is no need to use a calculator for that question. It is important to know which questions need the use of a calculator and which don't.
Sometimes simple mathematical concepts are presented in the SAT to confuse students. When they see a formula based question, they enter the data in the calculator, thus wasting more time.
If you apply the math concepts, you can solve the question in a few seconds. An example for this is the rounded figure that comes in the scientific calculators. It is shown as fractions in the answer options.
If you are a student preparing for the SAT exam, you must remember the following important tips:
- Do not forget to bring the calculator for the SAT exam.
- Calculators help you perform difficult calculations and save time.
- Carry only College Board approved calculators. These can be scientific or graphing calculators.
- Check the batteries for full charge. It must last the entire duration of the test.
- The calculator must be a familiar one to solve decimal, fraction, graph problems.
- Calculators approved by the collegeboard are mentioned in the list below:
Do you know any calculator tricks which can be used in SAT? Share in the comment section below and help your fellow SAT test takers.