SAT Math Study Tip # 5

Online Sat Math

When studying the math section of the SAT, students are constantly looking at the “Answers and Explanations” part of the materials they are working with, to check if their answers and methods are correct. The solutions that are provided often use a technique called “cancelling”.

Its true that using “cancelling” to help solve math problems is one of the best skills that a student can bring to the SAT exam, since many of the questions types are actually designed to be very straight forward if cancelling is used, but much more complicated if it is not used.

Even so, many students don’t really make time to practice their cancelling skills in their overall study plan. The good news is that you don’t have to practice cancelling that much to be come good at it, but you DO have to be clear on when you can use it, and when you cant. 

 

This is how cancelling works: Remember, there are only two ways of cancelling.

 

Way #1 – The first way to cancel is with numbers and algebra terms that are added or subtracted. Numbers or letters that are exactly the same can be cancelled, as long as they are connected to the other terms with addition or subtraction.

Way #2 – The second way to cancel is with numbers and algebra terms are multiplied together. that are Numbers or letters that are exactly the same can be cancelled, as long as they are ALL connected by multiplication. 

As you can see, there are many different combinations of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing the terms on both sides of an equation. With a reasonable amount of practice, you can get a good “feel” when you are allowed to cancel, which is a lot better than just following the rules. Remember that many questions on the SAT (especially the ones that would seem to take a lot of calculations) are designed for you use to use cancelling, rather than your calculator. As you practice, take note of the times that you could have cancelled, and didn’t see it. Give yourself five gentle (mental!) lashes and make sure it doesn’t happen again!


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