Tips and Tricks for Algebra Questions of the Digital SAT Exam

Preparing for the Digital SAT exam requires a solid understanding of algebraic concepts and techniques. This guide provides comprehensive tips and tricks to help you excel in the algebra section of the Digital SAT exam. By mastering these strategies, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle algebra questions with confidence and accuracy.


  1. Combine Fractions: When adding or subtracting fractions, always find a common denominator. This allows you to combine the numerators effectively. For example:
    • 12+13\frac{1}{2} + \frac{1}{3} becomes 36+26=56\frac{3}{6} + \frac{2}{6} = \frac{5}{6}.
    • Simplify the fraction if possible.
  2. Separate Fractions: Break down complex fractions into simpler parts to make them more manageable. For instance:
    • a/bc/d\frac{a/b}{c/d} can be rewritten as a⋅db⋅c\frac{a \cdot d}{b \cdot c}.
  3. Simplify Fractions: Reduce fractions to their simplest form by dividing both the numerator and the denominator by their greatest common factor (GCF). For example:
    • 812\frac{8}{12} simplifies to 23\frac{2}{3} (GCF of 8 and 12 is 4).
  4. Fraction within a Fraction: Simplify complex fractions by multiplying the numerator and denominator by the reciprocal of the denominator’s fraction. For example:
    • abcd=ab⋅dc=adbc\frac{\frac{a}{b}}{\frac{c}{d}} = \frac{a}{b} \cdot \frac{d}{c} = \frac{ad}{bc}.
  5. Flip a Fraction: When dividing by a fraction, multiply by its reciprocal. For example:
    • ab÷cd=ab⋅dc=adbc\frac{a}{b} \div \frac{c}{d} = \frac{a}{b} \cdot \frac{d}{c} = \frac{ad}{bc}.

Square Expansions

  1. Forms of Square Expansions: Memorize and recognize the patterns for quick expansion:
    • (a+b)2=a2+2ab+b2(a + b)^2 = a^2 + 2ab + b^2
    • (a−b)2=a2−2ab+b2(a – b)^2 = a^2 – 2ab + b^2
    • a2−b2=(a+b)(a−b)a^2 – b^2 = (a + b)(a – b)

Simplifying Square Roots

  1. Square Roots of Numbers: Break down the number under the square root into its prime factors and simplify:
    • 50=25⋅2=52\sqrt{50} = \sqrt{25 \cdot 2} = 5\sqrt{2}.
  2. Square Roots of Variables: Simplify square roots of variables by taking out pairs of variables:
    • x2=x\sqrt{x^2} = x.

Removing Square Roots

  1. Solving Equations: When solving equations involving square roots, square both sides of the equation to eliminate the square root:
    • If x=3\sqrt{x} = 3, then x=32=9x = 3^2 = 9.

Advanced Algebra Techniques

  1. Isolate a Variable: Use algebraic manipulation to get the variable of interest on one side of the equation:
    • 2x+3=72x + 3 = 7 becomes 2x=42x = 4, and thus x=2x = 2.
  2. Match Coefficients: When equating two expressions, ensure that the coefficients of corresponding terms are equal to solve for variables.
  3. Clear Denominators: Multiply all terms by the least common denominator to eliminate fractions in an equation:
    • For x2+34=1\frac{x}{2} + \frac{3}{4} = 1, multiply every term by 4 to get 2x+3=42x + 3 = 4.
  4. Treat Complicated Expressions as a Whole: Handle complex expressions as a single entity when performing algebraic operations to simplify the process.

Exponents and Radicals

  1. Understand Exponent Structure: Recognize that ana^n means multiplying the base aa by itself nn times.
  2. Distribution of Exponents: Apply the exponent to each term inside parentheses:
    • (ab)2=a2b2(ab)^2 = a^2b^2.
  3. Negative Exponents: Convert negative exponents to positive by taking the reciprocal of the base:
    • a−n=1ana^{-n} = \frac{1}{a^n}.
  4. Fractional Exponents: Understand that a1na^{\frac{1}{n}} is equivalent to the nth root of aa.
  5. Add/Subtract Exponents: When bases are the same, add or subtract the exponents:
    • an⋅am=an+ma^n \cdot a^m = a^{n+m}.
  6. Multiply Exponents: When there’s an exponent on top of another exponent, multiply the exponents:
    • (an)m=an⋅m(a^n)^m = a^{n \cdot m}.
  7. Matching Bases: To add or subtract exponents, ensure the bases are the same.
  8. Pulling Out Exponents: When bases are the same, you can factor out exponents:
    • an+am=amin⁡(n,m)⋅(an−min⁡(n,m)+am−min⁡(n,m))a^n + a^m = a^{\min(n, m)} \cdot (a^{n-\min(n, m)} + a^{m-\min(n, m)}).
  9. Simplify Radicals with Variables: Apply the same principles as with numbers to simplify square roots of variables.
  10. Add/Subtract Radicals: Radicals can only be added or subtracted if they have the same radicand (inside value).
  11. Multiply Radicals: Radicals can be multiplied regardless of the inside value:
    • a⋅b=ab\sqrt{a} \cdot \sqrt{b} = \sqrt{ab}.


  1. Definition of Percent: Understand that percent is a ratio expressed as a fraction of 100.
  2. Decimal and Percent Forms: Convert between percent and decimal forms:
    • 50% = 0.5.
  3. Percent of a Number: Calculate a percentage of a number by multiplying the number by the decimal form of the percentage:
    • 20% of 50 = 50 \cdot 0.2 = 10.
  4. Percent Increase/Decrease: Calculate percent increase or decrease by dividing the change in value by the original value and multiplying by 100:
    • If the original value is 50 and the new value is 60, the increase is 60−5050⋅100=20% \frac{60-50}{50} \cdot 100 = 20\%.
  5. Percent Change: Calculate percent change by dividing the difference between the new and original value by the original value and multiplying by 100.
  6. Common Mistakes: Be aware of common mistakes, such as confusing percent increase with percent total or misinterpreting percent change.

By mastering these algebra tips and tricks, you’ll enhance your problem-solving skills and boost your confidence for the Digital SAT exam. Practice regularly and apply these strategies to tackle algebra questions efficiently and accurately. Good luck!

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