College PrepSATSAT Math

All You Need To Know About Plugging in Answers on SAT® Math

This strategy takes advantage of the fact that you don’t have to show your work or prove that you know how to solve a problem in the Math section of the SAT exam. The scoring system will not see the steps you take to solve a question. All you need is the correct answer.

Plugging in answers is a critical math strategy to simplify some complicated problems or provide you with a process for questions that you don’t know how to solve.

You can also use this strategy to check your work or save time on lengthy problems.

How To Use Answer Choices

You can start a problem by looking at the answer choices. This will give you an idea of what your answer should be close to. Beyond understanding what your solution should look like, you can also use the choices more precisely to find your answer. 

Here is how: 

  1. Start with the given formula, and find out what it is asking you to solve for. 
  2. If you don’t know where to start or think that solving it by hand will take too much of your time, you can use the answer choices. 
  3. Test each one in the value you are solving for. 
  4. As you plug in choices, start to eliminate the ones that do not work. 
  5. You can also use the solution you found in your own work and plug it in to check your work. 

Some Tips for Success

1. Structural Tools

The structure of the math problems is something you should pay attention to when plugging in answer choices. Because the answer options will be in ascending or descending order, you can strategize by starting with the median number. This way, you can see which choices are too low or too high to fit the value. If the median choice is too high, you can eliminate the other answer choices that are greater than that choice. This is a strategy to eliminate choices more efficiently through plugging in answer choices. 

2. Use Your Best Judgement

This strategy is not appropriate for every problem. The SAT exam is designed to assess the skills you have learned in high school. It is best to start with the methods for solving that you learned in your high school math classes.

You can practice these strategies and tips for difficult or time-consuming questions in the SAT Math test using UWorld’s SAT Prep Course. Our practice exams, detailed question explanations, and performance tracking tools can provide you with valuable experience and scoring data. You can use this data to determine how this technique has affected your results in the SAT Math exam. Try out our prep course to practice plugging in answers!