College PrepSATSAT Math

SAT® Calculators: Tips for Accuracy and Precision

Here are some calculator tips to follow as you prepare for the Calculator section of the SAT® Math test. 

1. Don’t rely on your calculator too much. 

Some students fall into a rhythm, typing in problems that could be solved much quicker by taking a moment to think. With large multiplication problems (like7364×67) using a calculator makes sense to help you save time. But for more basic steps to a problem, consider whether your calculator is saving time or slowing you down. 

2. Use the same calculator in your practice work that you plan to use on the official SAT exam. 

It is important to understand how to use your calculator, and in order for the calculator to be truly helpful to you, you need to be able to use it efficiently. Wasting time looking for a button, or using it in the wrong mode, can completely blow your performance. Be sure that you know how your calculator works, use the proper setting for the SAT exam, and know where each useful button is located. You should use the same calculator on your practice exams as you would use on the official SAT test day. Gain some experience with your device and practice using it accurately and efficiently.

3. Be sure that your inputs are accurate. 

It is important to be ultraprecise when plugging in equations or problems. One number or detail off will produce an incorrect answer, so be sure that you are careful and always check what you have inputted before pressing the enter button.

4. Bringing a calculator is optional, but having one will give you a considerable advantage for time and accuracy.

The College Board⪚ recommends that you bring a calculator. While having a calculator is optional, you should know that your performance will benefit largely from having one. Be sure that your calculator has fresh batteries. The College Board lists most graphing calculators, all scientific calculators, and all four-function calculators as acceptable. The four-function calculators are the least favorable of the three types.

You can practice using a calculator in the Calculator section of the SAT Math test through UWorld’s SAT Prep course. Our practice exams and detailed question explanations can provide you with specific paths to improvement and realistic practice with your calculator. It is important to use a calculator that is permitted. Only use it where it actually helps your accuracy and efficiency, and become familiar with your calculator. Be sure that you input information carefully. These tips can boost your success in the Math section by maximizing the benefits of calculator use.