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SAT subject test - Math L2 - Can you guys advise us on where the calculator would save a ton of time

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My ds is very good at math, but has never used a graphics calculator.  I've been reading the SAT introduction and it suggests that 50% of the test could be calculator use, but that some kids will use more direct computation.  DS has very little interest in learning to use a graphics calculator, and I really don't want to have to wade through this test to figure it out.  Can you guys please direct us to the material where a graphics calculator would save a ton of time.  DS is busy preparing for the IMO, and this is kind of a non-event for him, but yet it does have to be completed in an hour, so he is willing to use the graphics calculator where it would help.




Ruth in NZ

Edited by lewelma
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It was a couple of years ago and none of us can remember which problems were recommended by Barrons for the graphing calculator. The dc's did learn the techniques and we did buy the calculator for the exam. I made them, to be really honest.


That being said ds did not use his calculator for the graphing function on the SAT maths exams or the Calc AP. No need. He had plenty of time and had 800's and a 5.


So obviously it isn't required for a high score. If you son looks over the list of topics and is comfortable I don't think he needs to learn. I would have him go through one timed practice exam just so he knows the pacing of the exam. Remember the SAT 2 is more forgiving than the SAT 1, a question or two can be missed for the 800.


Dd learned also. Same scores. She used it to check her work but not to answer. She thought it was more fun than useful.


I wouldn't bother with it again.


ETA. I just talked to the dc's and both say ds must have used the graphing calculator on the AP exam. Ds and I had a rather turbulent couple of days last spring when I discovered he did not even know what was on the AP exams he was taking in a couple of days. I had provided review books and had believed they had been used. The evening before the Calc AP was once again a how to use your graphing Calculator session taught by dd. He informed me the next day after the exam that the calculator lesson had been unnecessary which I thought meant he did not use it. I still suspect he didn't use it much because it hadn't been going well the night before.....knowing my child he may have been tormenting me!

Edited by mumto2
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A graphing calculator is not really necessary.

DD did the test without a graphing calculator, she just had a simple scientific calculator. She did very well.


A student who is very proficient in the use of the graphing calculator might be able to save some time, but a student who is just learning to use it for the test might not actually save anything.


AP calc, OTOH, is a different case; there are problems which are designed to force use of a graphing calculator and cannot be solved without.

Edited by regentrude
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