South Charlotte

How to prepare for the math SATs

This feature is part of an occasional series aimed at helping students get ready for the upcoming school year.

Marcia Chumas is a math teacher at East Mecklenburg High School on Monroe Road. She will be teaching geometry and calculus this upcoming school year.

When is the best time to start preparing for the SAT?

When your student starts taking geometry.

Students should focus on problem-solving skills; read a problem and apply the math that has been taught to them. Most questions are word problems that involve setting up the equation and solving the problem.

If you've already taken the SATs and didn't make a high score, how can you increase your score?

Review basic geometry and the numeric of algebra. Most of the time, when people think of algebra they think of variables and factoring. But there's not a lot of that on the SAT.

There's more middle-school geometry and not a lot of higher-level geometry. No one is going to ask them to write a proof on the SAT.

A lot of students still say they scored low after taking SAT prep classes and completing many practice tests. What are some other ways students can increase their SAT score?

It's very difficult to teach problem-solving skills. It's not as simple as addition or subtraction. Test-takers who can actually look at the question and at the word problems and pick out keywords will be at a greater advantage.

There are review programs on College Board and the Princeton Review that offer tips and interactive practice programs.

What's the key to practicing the SAT?

They just need to practice specific types of questions. Don't just use your math book. Practice with an SAT book, one that was specifically written for the SAT.