SAT Math: Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them


The Math section of the SAT exam can be challenging, even for students who consider themselves good at math. While the questions may seem straightforward, there are common pitfalls that can trip you up. In this blog post, we’ll identify these pitfalls and provide strategies to avoid them.

Common Pitfalls in SAT Math

Misreading the Question

One of the most common mistakes is misreading the question or not fully understanding what is being asked. This can lead to incorrect answers, even if your calculations are correct.

Overcomplicating Problems

Sometimes, students overthink problems and use complicated methods when simpler ones would suffice. This not only wastes time but also increases the chance of making an error.

Not Checking Answers

In the rush to complete the section, students often forget to check their answers. A quick review can catch calculation errors or mistakes in selecting the answer.

Ignoring Units

Questions often involve units like meters, seconds, or gallons. Ignoring or mixing up these units can lead to incorrect answers.

How to Avoid These Pitfalls

Read Carefully

Always read the question carefully and make sure you understand what is being asked before you start solving the problem.

Keep It Simple

Use the simplest method to solve each problem. If you find yourself using complex equations or calculations, take a moment to consider if there’s a simpler way.

Double-Check Your Work

Allocate some time at the end of the section to review your answers. Look for calculation errors or questions you may have misunderstood.

Pay Attention to Units

Always note the units involved in a question and make sure to carry them through your calculations. Double-check to ensure you haven’t mixed them up.


The SAT Math section can be tricky, but being aware of common pitfalls and knowing how to avoid them can significantly improve your performance. By reading questions carefully, simplifying your methods, double-checking your work, and paying attention to units, you can navigate the SAT Math section more effectively and boost your score.

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