Graphing Calculators Can Help Students Succeed on the New SAT

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(ARA) - Question: How can a graphing calculator help teens tackle the new format of the SAT debuting in March 2005?


A. Graphing calculators can be used to solve questions in the expanded math section in the new format that includes questions covering algebra and geometry.

B. Graphing calculators can help students be more effective while taking the SAT test.

C. Electronic SAT study cards available on the Texas Instruments Web site for download on TI graphing calculators give sample questions and explanations of answers from both the math and verbal sections of the new SAT.

D. Handheld graphing technology can be an important factor to help students develop a better understanding of mathematical concepts

E. All of the above.

If you answered E, you are correct.

As millions of teens prepare to take the new SAT that debuts in March 2005, many parents and teachers are looking for ways to ensure teens are ready for the exam. One of the best tools that can help students prepare for, and take, the new SAT may already be in your child's book bag: a graphing calculator.

Handheld graphing technology can be an important factor in helping students develop a better understanding of mathematical concepts, score higher on performance measures and achieve a higher level of problem solving skills.

A graphing calculator or scientific calculator is recommended when taking the SAT, since using one may be helpful to students in solving some math questions on the test.

And while they can assist teens taking the new SAT exam, graphing calculators are also an excellent study aid that teens can use outside of the classroom to practice for the test prior to exam day. Whether going to and from school on the bus, doing homework in their room or studying at the library, students can use graphing calculators just about anywhere to work on solving practice questions from the new SAT.

One of the best ways to help students prepare for the SAT is to make sure they are familiar with the technology they are going to use during the test, which means they should practice using the graphing calculator well before the day of the exam.

The following tips can help your teen get ready for SAT success.

1. The test clock is ticking

The new SAT mathematics section includes two 25-minute sections and one 20-minute section. Since all three sections are timed, test-takers might feel some anxiety about completing all the questions within the allotted time. While it is possible for every math question to be solved without a graphing calculator, students who plan to use one on the SAT can make the best use of their time during the test if they bring a calculator which they are familiar and comfortable in using.

2. Help for the new SAT's expanded mathematics sections

The new SAT expands math topics in the areas of algebra, geometry, graphing, statistics and probability, and a graphing calculator will prove handy to help solve these kinds of test questions. For example, the new test will include more questions in which trigonometry may be used to arrive at the correct answer, and may include graphing-related questions that ask students about properties of the slopes of parallel and perpendicular lines.

3. Learn how to use the graphing calculator and prepare ahead of time

Teens who plan to use a graphing calculator for the test should learn to use the technology well in advance of test time to help prevent test anxiety. They can prepare by using the graphing calculator for math and science classes, and by taking SAT practice tests with the graphing calculator so they will become familiar with both the types of equations and functions that will be asked on the test and the best ways to solve them through using the calculator.

4. Graphing calculators are a great portable study aid for the SAT's mathematics and critical reading sections.

To help introduce students to various types of questions that could be on the test, including those in geometry, algebra, pre-algebra and critical reading, TI now offers a useful SAT Prep Questions tool that can be downloaded through the StudyCards program onto any of TI's TI-83 and TI-84 graphing calculator product lines.

TI's SAT Prep Questions include sets of electronic flash cards that guide students through sample questions, allow for the student to answer the question and then see an explanation of the correct answer. Once these SAT Prep Questions are downloaded on the graphing calculator, students can work with them anytime and anywhere.

To further assist college-bound students, TI's educational Web site includes a variety of SAT StudyCards resources, including the 100 most common SAT words and SAT terms and definitions. For more information, simply go to

5. Don't leave home without it

After all the studying and practicing, students will want to put their graphing calculator and fresh batteries in a spot they will remember on test day, so they don't leave home without it!

For more information on preparing for the new SAT, visit

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Courtesy of ARA Content

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