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Plugging In on SAT Math

Plugging in was a key strategy on the last two iterations of the SAT – both tests pre- and post-2005. With the redesign of the Math test to focus more on problems that you’re likely to see in a Math question and less on unique, atypical problem-solving questions of past tests, plugging in and other core Math strategies have declined in usefulness.

However, that doesn’t mean plugging in has completely disappeared as a useful tactic. Here’s an example problem that illustrates the strategy and how it still can be used on the New SAT Math test:

piq2Try this question on your own and then watch the video below for the solution & the plugging in strategy in action.

Also note that any question that can be solved by plugging in can be solved with algebra. This is likely how the College Board “intends” the problem to be solved, so I’ll show you that method as well in the video. Use whichever method you prefer, though I recommend you be comfortable using both approaches for maximum flexibility.

About the Author:

I’m Rob Schombs, the founder of Reason Prep, creator of these videos, and your test prep tutor. I earned a BA in Chemistry (2006) and an MA in Science and Technology Studies (2009) from Cornell University. In 2010 I started tutoring SAT, ACT, math, chemistry, and writing full-time, and Reason Prep followed shortly after!