Sure, there's an SAT Mathematics section on the regular SAT Test, but if you truly want to show off your Algebra and Geometry skills, the SAT Mathematics Level 1 Subject Test will do just that as long as you can nab a killer score. It's one of many SAT Subject Tests offered by the College Board, which have been designed to showcase your brilliance in a plethora of different areas.
SAT Mathematics Level 1 Subject Test Basics
- 60 minutes
- 50 multiple-choice questions
- 200-800 points possible
- You may use a graphing or scientific calculator on the exam, and BONUS – you're not required to clear the memory before it begins in case you want to add formulas. Cell phone, tablet, or computer calculators are not allowed.
SAT Mathematics Level 1 Subject Test Content
So, what do you need to know? What kinds of math questions are going to be asked on this thing? Glad you asked. Here's the stuff you need to be studying:
Numbers and Operations
- Operations, ratio and proportion, complex numbers, counting, elementary number theory, matrices, sequences: Approximately 5-7 questions
Algebra and Functions
- Expressions, equations, inequalities, representation and modeling, properties of functions (linear, polynomial, rational, exponential): Approximately 19 – 21 questions
- Plane Euclidean: Approximately 9 – 11 questions
- Coordinate (lines, parabolas, circles, symmetry, transformations): Approximately 4 – 6 questions
- Three-dimensional (solids, surface area and volume): Approximately 2 – 3 questions
- Trigonometry: (right triangles, identities): Approximately 3 – 4 questions
Data Analysis, Stats, and Probability
- Mean, median, mode, range, interquartile range, graphs and plots, least squares regression (linear), probability: Approximately 4 – 6 questions
Why Take the SAT Mathematics Level 1 Subject Test?
If you're thinking about jumping into a major that involves a lot of math like some of the sciences, engineering, finance, technology, economics, and more, it's a great idea to gain a competitive edge by showcasing everything you can do in the math arena. The SAT Mathematics test definitely tests your math knowledge, but here, you'll get to show off even more with tougher math questions. In many of those math-based fields, you'll be required to take the SAT Math Level 1 and Level 2 Subject Tests as it is.
How to Prepare for the SAT Mathematics Level 1 Subject Test
The College Board recommends skills equal to college-preparatory mathematics, including two years of algebra and one year of geometry. If you're a math whiz, then this is truly probably all you'll need to prepare, since you get to bring your calculator. If you're not, then you may reconsider taking the exam in the first place. Taking the SAT Mathematics Level 1 Subject Test and scoring poorly on it will in no way help your chances at getting into your top school.
Sample SAT Mathematics Level 1 Question
Speaking of the College Board, this question, and others like it, are available for free.
They also provide a detailed explanation of each answer, here. By the way, the questions are ranked in order of difficulty in their question pamphlet from 1 to 5, where 1 is the least difficult and 5 is the most. The question below is marked as a difficulty level of 2.
A number n is increased by 8. If the cube root of that result equals –0.5, what is the value of n ?
(A) −15.625
(B) −8.794
(C) −8.125
(D) −7.875
(E) 421.875
Answer: Choice (C) is correct. One way to determine the value of n is to create and solve an algebraic equation. The phrase “a number n is increased by 8” is represented by the expression n + 8, and the cube root of that result is equal to −0.5, so n+8 cubed= -0.5. Solving for n gives n+8 = (-0.5)3= -0.125, and so n = -0.125 – 8 = -8.125. Alternatively, one can invert the operations that were done to n.
Apply the inverse of each operation, in the reverse order: First cube −0.5 to get −0.125, and then decrease this value by 8 to find that n = -0.125 - 8= -8.125.