I was making my toddler’s lunch for school the other morning. (And, yes this is relevant to your SAT math strategy.)
Me: Baby, what would like for lunch today?
Kiddo: Mama, can I have *anything* I want?
Me: Yep – you can have whatever you want!
Kiddo: I want an elephant for lunch!
Me: Baby, you can’t have *anything* you want. You can only have what I have in the fridge already, silly goose! (Besides which, we don’t eat elephants!)
What’s available in your fridge?
Here’s how this applies to your SAT math strategy: before solving the problem, you want to carefully check the fridge to see which numbers are available.
Take a look at this problem from Test 6, Section 2 in the Blue Book. [Note: this problem is from the old test, but the principle is still very much in play on the new SAT test.]
Some of my students jump right in and say, “Well, n could be 2 and so A is the right answer. Duh.” (Would question 13 really have such an easy answer? Did you forget to match your socks?)
A better math strategy is to first check the refrigerator. Can n be anything at all? (Are there any elephants in the refrigerator available for lunch today?)
Select your lunch from the fridge
Ah – n has to be between 0 and 1. So now pick a number between 0 and 1 and figure out what n, n^2 and sqrt n are.
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