What to Know About the Mathematics Level I SAT Subject Test

If you’ve done well in your high school math classes or if you’re thinking of majoring in a STEM program, you may wish to take the Mathematics Level 1 SAT Subject Test. Taking one year of geometry and two years of algebra is recommended for this exam. Other things to know about the Mathematics Level I SAT Subject Test include what topics will be tested on the exam, the calculator policy, and prep strategies.

When going into an SAT subject test, it is important to feel prepared. Keep reading to learn what to know about the Mathematics Level I SAT Subject Test.

Mathematics Level I SAT Subject Test 101

This test is offered in August, October, November, December, May, and June, so plan accordingly. The highest score you can receive is an 800, while the lowest is a 200. There are 50 multiple-choice questions that you must complete in 60 minutes. The exam provides some reference information to test-takers, which includes volume formulas for a pyramid, right circular cone, and sphere, as well as the surface area of a sphere.

The College Board recommends that you select the Mathematics Level 2 test (rather than Level 1) if you have earned a B or better in pre-calculus and/or trigonometry. You should also be comfortable with a graphing or scientific calculator. If you’re confused as to which exam you should register for, consult your guidance counselor or math teacher.

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Topics on the Mathematics Level I SAT Subject Test

Algebra and functions make up approximately 48-52% of the test.

  • This includes equations, expressions, inequalities, representation and modeling, and properties of various functions.

The other significant portion of the exam (again, 48-52%) is geometry and measurement.

  • This encompasses coordinate geometry (like circles and lines), three-dimensional geometry (like solids, surface area, and volume), and trigonometry (like right triangles).

Numbers and operations make up 10-14% of the test.

  • This involves complex numbers, counting, elementary number theory, matrices, operations, ratio and proportion, and sequences.

Finally, there are some problems (8-12%) on data analysis, probability, and statistics.

  • Specifically, this refers to graphs and plots, least squares regression, mean, median, mode, probability, and range and interquartile range.

Calculator use on the Mathematics Level I SAT Subject Test

Calculators are allowed on the Mathematics Level 1 test, so be sure to practice with one while studying. Determine which problems are best solved with a calculator, and try to be as efficient as possible—don’t punch in every single operation, as this likely won’t help you with timing.

How to prepare for the Mathematics Level I SAT Subject Test

Your class notes and past exams will be great starting points for you in your preparation for this assessment. Review this material to refresh your memory and to see what concepts you need to revisit. Touch base with your math teacher to see if he or she has any tips. If any other students in your class are taking the exam, consider forming a study group.

In addition, you can and should complete several practice tests. Doing so will clue you in to what you still need to work on, and give you an idea of your timing. Those 60 minutes will fly by, so it’s important to know how to pace yourself.

With some preparation, the Mathematics Level 1 SAT Subject Test can be a positive experience. Remember, the material is based off of the average classwork in an American high school. You can still receive a top score without getting all of the questions correct. Good luck!

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