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Math Books Will Not Increase Your Test Scores

It's tempting to think that taking a pre-calculus or calculus class will help your SAT® or ACT® test scores, but it's not true! My High School Subject Test White Paper will help you gain critical insights into the AP®, SAT®, and CLEP® subject tests. These tips, along with those below, will help you prepare your children for success!

What will not help increase your test scores? 

  • ​Calculus
  • Physics
  • Pre-Calculus
  • Differential Equations
  • Statistics

Why not?

Because it's not included on the high school tests. Almost all of the math covered by the SAT® or the ACT® is completed before 11th grade. The usual senior year classes of pre-calc or calculus, for instance, are not on those tests.

On the ACT®, there are only FOUR questions beyond algebra 2 or geometry included on the test. On the SAT®, there are NO trigonometry questions and just a few algebra 2 concepts included. That's not to say that taking pre-calc isn't a good idea. I think it's a GREAT idea that will help earn college admission as you demonstrate the rigor of your homeschool, and how your child can work hard even in hard subjects. But, that aside, it's just not going to help with the ACT® or SAT® math test scores. 

What will help increase test scores? 

The best way to prep for the math portion of these tests is to practice the math questions that are actually used on each of the tests. Keep practicing until they all start to look the same. Remember, even slightly more familiarity with the questions they ask could increase your child's SAT®​ or ACT®​ score enough to max out those automatic merit scholarships associated with high school test scores.​ 


Here is the math that is included on the ACT®​​.
  • ​(20-25%) Pre-Algebra (integers, fractions, ratios, percents, basic probability, counting, basic statistics, charts​)
  • (15-20%) Basic Algebra (solving and simplifying expressions, factoring, basic inequalities, integer exponents, square roots)​
  • (15-20%) Plane Geometry (triangles, rectangles, trapezoids, angles, perimeter, area, volume​)
  • (15-20%) Intermediate Algebra (quadratic formula, radical expressions, absolute value with inequalities, functions, complex numbers, roots of polynomials​)
  • (15-20%) Coordinate Geometry (number lines graphs, graphs of equations of lines and circles and conics, distance, midpoint, transformations​)
  • (20-25%) Plane Geometry (plane figures properties and relations, angles - perpendicular - parallel lines, transformations, proof and proof techniques, volume, application of geometry to three dimensions)
  • (5-10%) Trigonometry (properties and graphs of the six trigonometric functions, basic identities, basic trigonometric equations​)


Here is the math that is included on the SAT®​​.
  • ​(33%) Algebra (linear equations, inequalities, functions, and graphs)
  • (29%) Problem Solving & Data Analysis (rates, ratios, percentages, and data from graphs and tables)
  • (28%) Passport to Advanced Math (Now if that isn't an SAT® phrase!) (non-linear expressions, quadratic equations, exponential expressions, radicals, rational exponents, polynomials, and word problems)
  • (10%) Additional topics (geometry, basic trig, and complex numbers)

I hope these facts put you more at ease about preparing your student for these important high school tests! You can help your child determine the best test for them to take, and prepare them for these tests by getting tips in my article, How to Ace the SAT® or ACT®.

Need more help? Join my Gold Care Club and I can help you personalize your child's high school plan.​ Find out more about the Gold Care Club. 

 SAT®, AP®, and CLEP® are trademarks owned by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse, this blog post or The HomeScholar, LLC.

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Comments 4

Guest - Julie on Tuesday, 05 September 2017 23:56

Instead of CLEP (where you're not sure you'll pass, but you still have to pay every test), you can do ALEKS. It's $20/mo or $100/yr and it transfers over to most schools directly via ACE. The students have to work the problems until they can pass the assessment at 70%. It's tough, but they actually learn the material. Most schools accept College Algebra, Trig, Pre-Calc, Statistics, and Business Statistics. If your student works hard and is math-inclined, it's not unreasonable to pass 3 or more in a year.

Instead of CLEP (where you're not sure you'll pass, but you still have to pay every test), you can do ALEKS. It's $20/mo or $100/yr and it transfers over to most schools directly via ACE. The students have to work the problems until they can pass the assessment at 70%. It's tough, but they actually learn the material. Most schools accept College Algebra, Trig, Pre-Calc, Statistics, and Business Statistics. If your student works hard and is math-inclined, it's not unreasonable to pass 3 or more in a year.
Guest - Pat Wesolowski on Friday, 15 September 2017 23:31

Colleges grant college credit for ALEKS classes?

Colleges grant college credit for ALEKS classes?
Lee Binz on Friday, 01 September 2017 19:05

Hi Teresa,
There are two math CLEP Tests, college algebra and college mathematics. You can read more about those tests on the College Board website here: https://clep.collegeboard.org/science-and-mathematics
And this is my article that compares the different kinds of subject tests.
https://homehighschoolhelp.com/high-school-subject-tests-simply-explained
Blessings,
Lee

Hi Teresa, There are two math CLEP Tests, college algebra and college mathematics. You can read more about those tests on the College Board website here: https://clep.collegeboard.org/science-and-mathematics And this is my article that compares the different kinds of subject tests. https://homehighschoolhelp.com/high-school-subject-tests-simply-explained Blessings, Lee
Guest - Teresa T. on Friday, 01 September 2017 01:08

I wonder then what is covered in the math CLEP test.

I wonder then what is covered in the math CLEP test.
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