SAT Subject Test: Mathematics Level 1

The SAT Subject Test in Mathematics, Level 1 helps assess a student’s comprehension of high school and college preparatory mathematics courses. The SAT Subject Test in Mathematics, Level 1 can assist the student in gaining admission to colleges with courses requiring good Mathematics skills, i.e. engineering, actuarial and computer science, physics, and economics.

The SAT Subject Test in Mathematics, Level 1 tests the student’s knowledge of Mathematics curricula generally taught in most high schools. The SAT Subject Test in Mathematics, Level 1 does not replace any Honors’ or Advanced Placement testing for Mathematics but focuses specifically on comprehension of high school level Mathematics courses and curricula. Students taking this test should have already completed at least 2 to 3 years of high school Mathematics studies, including 2 years of algebra and one year of geometry.

To register online for the SAT Subject Test in Mathematics, Level 1 go online to The registration fees for the Subject Test are $22. Students may register for an SAT Subject Test by phone ($15, if the student has already registered for a previous test), register late ($26), request to change a test date, a test, or test site ($25). Scores will be posted online at the student’s secure site and/or are mailed for no fee.

The SAT Subject Test in Mathematics, Level 1 can be taken at the same testing center where a student would sit for the SAT Exam. The SAT Subject Test in Mathematics, Level I is generally offered in October, November, December, January, March, May, and June. The SAT General Test is typically offered on the same dates as the SAT Subject Test in Mathematics, but the student may not register to take both the SAT Exam and any SAT Subject Test on the same date.

Various examples of Mathematics, Algebra, Geometry, and Data Analysis and Statistics will be included in the SAT Subject Test in Mathematics, Level 1. The test is timed, and the student will be allowed a maximum amount of 60 minutes to complete the test. The test consists of 50 multiple choice questions and may include a reference to a geometric figure. Both the SAT Subject Tests in Mathematics Levels 1 and 2 contain a certain amount of overlap in Algebra, Geometry, Statistics, and Basic Trigonometry, but in general, the Level 1 Test is less advanced than the Level 2 Test.

If the student has registered to take the SAT Subject Test in Mathematics Level 1, but decides on the day of the test that he or she would prefer to sit for the SAT Subject Test Mathematics Level 2 (or vice versa), this is allowed. The student should confer with his or her high school Mathematics teacher for advice on which test would be more appropriate.

The SAT Subject Test in Mathematics, Level 1 is divided into four sections.

The first section will test the student’s skills with numeric operations and consists of 10% to 14% of the entire test. Questions will center on complex and elementary number theory, counting, matrices, operations, proportion, ratio, and sequencing.

The next section includes questions relating to algebraic functions and is the largest unit of the test, comprising 38% to 48% of all the questions. The student should be able to demonstrate familiarity and proficiency with:

  • equations, expressions, and inequalities
  • exponential, linear, polynomial, and rational properties of functions
  • modeling and representation

Geometry is the subject of the third portion of the test, which is divided into four subsections. The largest subsection, Plane Euclidean, comprises 18% to 22% of the test. The other 3 subsections of this portion of the test contain questions on: coordinates (8% to 12%) including circles, lines, parabolas, transformation, and symmetry; 3-Dimensional (4% to 6%) including solids, surface area, and volume, i.e. cones, cylinders, prisms, pyramids, and spheres.

The last and smallest portion of the test, comprising only 8% of 12% of the test, asks questions relating to analysis of data, probability, and statistics. Here the student should show expertise with interquartile graphs, ranges, and plots; mean, median, mode, and range; linear regression and probability.

When arriving at the testing center, the student must bring an acceptable photo ID, two (2) number 2 pencils, and the printed admission ticket to the SAT Subject Test Mathematics, Level 1. It is recommended that the student also bring a calculator for this test; accepted calculators are graphing and scientific calculators.

The student may not bring a computer, laptop, or cell phone calculator into the testing center. Students are not allowed to bring to the testing site any books, notebooks, scratch paper, pens, colored pencils, highlighters, rulers, protractors, compasses, timers, cell phones, PDAs, iPods, BlackBerries, or any digital, electronic equipment or devices, other than the acceptable calculators mentioned previously. A student may want to bring a silent watch to keep track of elapsed time.

It is recommended that the student begin the test by quickly scanning through all multiple choice questions first, answering those that can be easily answered, followed by continuing with the more difficult questions. Read the questions carefully after the first scan before selecting the correct answer. Eliminate answers that are most obviously incorrect, and use the test booklet to mark these incorrect answers for reference. Mark on the test booklet those questions and/or sections that have already been completed. The student should not take too much time on any one section or question but continue to work steadily, moving on to the next question before too much time has elapsed, particularly if the answer is not known. Take a guess! And then go to the next question.

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