Each section of the Math SAT wraps up with a few free response questions. There are five free response questions at the end of the no-calculator section and eight at the end of the calculator section. Some students regard them with fear. So, what do you need to know to ace the SAT Math free response questions?
What Can The Free Response Answers Be?
The free response questions, as the name implies, offer no answer choices. After you solve the problem, you fill in bubbles to represent what your answer is. You fill in your answers by hand in four boxes. These boxes can contain numbers, slashes, or decimals. A free response question will not allow you to enter a negative number. Mixed numbers like (2 1/2 or two and one half) cannot be entered into the answer sheet. Your answer must be written as an improper fraction or a decimal.
Some free response questions have more than one answer. (usually phrased by asking for a “possible” solution), you are only required to choose one answer. Don’t try and enter in both. You don’t get bonus points. Also, as long as it fits within the four boxes, you don’t have to simplify fractions. They’ll still count.
Lastly, you should always check if the question asks you to round to a place. If it asks you to round to the tenths place, and you fill in “8.66” instead of “8.7” it will be counted wrong. Always double check.
How Hard Are Free Response Questions?
The actual difficulty and topics of the questions on the multiple choice aren’t actually much different than the multiple choice, but they do feel harder. That effect is usually a mix of a couple things.
Firstly, there’s no safety net. There’s no looking at the answer choices and realizing you’re far off from any offered answer. If you goof up on a step, it can trip you up without you ever realizing it. Make sure to write out every step of your work! Writing out the steps helps catch any silly mistakes.
Secondly, since they’re at the end of each tests, you might be running low on endurance or run out of time to work on them. Remember to eat a full breakfast before taking the SAT, get a full nights sleep, and pack protein-heavy snacks. This will help you keep clear headed and sharp all the way through the four-hour ordeal. Practice the math SAT on your own, so you get more efficient at solving the SAT math’s problems.
What do I Need to Remember for the Free Response Questions?
Take a deep breath. Remember to double check your work. Read the exact wording of the question, and make sure you’re rounding to the right place. Remember, they won’t actually be harder than the other questions, but they’re just scary looking. Move calmly yet swiftly through them. You’ve got this!
That’s all! Now go get ready to crush some SAT free response questions! If you want more SAT and ACT prep advice sure to join our mailing list for a free 27-item checklist and 30-day free SAT email course.