Assigning Values

Assigning Values

Part of scoring well on the SAT Math section, is making the test easier for yourself.  Assigning values to variables is a fantastic strategy for scoring better and moving faster through the math sections.  Here we will go over some of the types of questions you will encounter that welcome this strategy.

\)x’s\) Everywhere

When you have the same variable in an equation in the question and answer choices, you can use this strategy.


What is the equivalent form of \(\frac{x^2+3x-8}x\) ?

A) \(\;5x-1\)

B) \(\frac x3\)

C) \(x^2-3\)

D) \(\;x+7\)


When there is one variable in both the question and all of the answer choices, and the question is asking you for the equivalent form, plug in 2 for the variable and see which answer choice produces the same numeric value (plugging in 0 or 1 can occasionally give strange results).

In this example, since the question is asking us for the equivalent form and there is one variable (\(x\)) in the question and the answer choices, you can plug in 2 for all the \(x\)s.

What is the equivalent form of \(\frac{\left(2\right)^2+3\left(2\right)-8}2\) ?

A) \(5\left(2\right)-1\)

B) \(\frac23\)

C) \(\left(2\right)^2-3\)

D) \(\;2+7\)

After simplifying, you would find that the fraction in the question is now equal to  and the only answer choice that is equal is C).