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The Five Finger Method Who ? Wha t? How ? Whe re? Whe n? Wha t? Who ? Whe n? Whe re? How ? SAT Math – A Strategic Approach Rational Routes

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The Basics The five finger method allows you to evaluate a problem and develop a strategy for solving the problem by asking the following five short, yet critical, questions: Who? What? When? Where? and How? Because the SAT is just as much about strategy as it is about knowledge So, are you ready to maximize your score? Then, read on! SAT Math – A Strategic Approach Rational Routes

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The Basics Who ? Wha t? Whe n? How ? Whe re? SAT Math – A Strategic Approach Rational Routes

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Who? This is probably a given, but the who, which relates to the one solving the problem, is either YOU or NOT YOU Upon reading through a problem youll want to ask yourself, Is it worth attempting this problem or would I be better off skipping it? Remember that time management is crucial, so you dont want to waste your time on a problem that you might not be able to solve in the limited amount of time given. SAT Math – A Strategic Approach Rational Routes

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What? What type of problem is this? There are four main types: - Algebra (including Functions) - Geometry - Numbers and Operations - Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability Know your strengths and know which types of problems tend to be easier or harder for you SAT Math – A Strategic Approach Rational Routes

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When? Pay close attention to your time You dont want to spend too much time on one problem, so keep an eye on your watch and if a problem is taking too long to solve, skip it and come back to it later Keep this in mind: A tough problem towards the beginning of a section might best be saved until the end And remember that the problems on each section of the SAT do not have to be solved in order, so feel free to move in whatever order suits you best SAT Math – A Strategic Approach Rational Routes

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Where? The where question has two components: - Where is the problem located on the test (ie. the beginning, middle, or end of a section)? Know your three sections: the grid-in (18 question) section, the 16 question section, and the 20 question section. For each section, the easier questions will come first, followed by medium difficulty questions, and then hard questions (usually the last 3-4 questions per section). It is important to assess the difficulty of the problem so you can decide whether to skip it or attempt it and so that you can gauge how long you ought to spend on it - Where can I find the information/formulas I need? The formulas given to you at the beginning of each section are there to help you, so dont forget to use them! Know what is there and how to use each formula (most of them pertain to geometry problems). You will be given the same set of formulas for each section (these are also the same formulas you will see on your practice tests) SAT Math – A Strategic Approach Rational Routes

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How? There are often several different ways to solve any one particular problem. It is your job to choose the most efficient method The method you choose might depend on your degree of comprehension as it relates to a given problem. So dont be afraid to get creative if the math class way to solve a problem doesnt immediately come to you Here are a few methods you might consider (not all methods are applicable to every problem): algebraic method, guess and check, plugging in answer choices, process of elimination, substitution of numbers for variables, and/or any other method you might come up with Guessing is not a method. If youre going to make a random guess out of the five answer choices, youd probably be better off skipping the problem entirely. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe is not a strategy; its a gamble Note that the method you use in a particular problem is always subject to change. If one method is not working, maybe its time to try another (just be aware of the time that you are spending in doing so) SAT Math – A Strategic Approach Rational Routes

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Putting It All Together After a short amount of practice using the five finger method to solve various SAT math problems, you will find that you no longer have to consciously ask yourself all five questions. Rather it will become second nature and you will be able to evaluate a problem and determine a method to solve (or to not solve) the problem within a matter of seconds. The order in which you ask yourself the five questions is really up to you, especially since the answer to one question might directly impact the answers to the other four questions. For example, you might want to ask the who question last, as the answers to the other questions will help you determine whether or not to skip a problem. Youll find that some questions particularly go hand in hand, such as the when and where questions. Where the question is on a section (at the beginning or the end) greatly impacts how much time you will want to spend on the problem. Although the five finger method may prove tedious at first, try to stick with it. It is worth the effort, I promise! And feel free to play around with modifying the five finger method to better fit your own personal problem-solving style. SAT Math – A Strategic Approach Rational Routes

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Next Steps Now its time to start putting this method to good use. Check out the videos and written solutions to common SAT math problems at Send your questions and comments to Find a copy of the College Board Official SAT Study Guide and begin practicing! SAT Math – A Strategic Approach Rational Routes

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