SAT Math Level 2: Structure, Patterns & Scoring

Instructor: Laura Golnabi

Laura Golnabi is a Ph.D. student in Mathematics Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She also teaches undergraduate mathematics courses, and has developed problem solving courses designed for non-STEM majors. Her current research involves if and when students suffering from mathematics anxiety are able to have positive, flow-like experiences in mathematics.

In this lesson, you will be introduced to what to expect on the SAT Math Level 2 exam. Also, you will learn how the SAT Math Level 2 is structured, what topics are covered in it, and how the test is scored.

SAT Math Level 2 FAQ

Before we get started on the specifics of how the SAT Math Level 2 exam is structured and scored, here are some common questions that may help you decide if this is the right test for you.

What are the differences between the SAT Math Level 1 and SAT Math Level 2 exams?

Basically, the Level 2 exam covers the same material as the Level 1 exam, but with additional topics in trigonometry and precalculus. Also, for the topics that are included in both exams, the content that is tested on the Level 2 exam is more advanced. (See below for details on the content of the Level 2 exam.)

What classes should I have taken to prepare for the SAT Math Level 2 exam?

To be sufficiently ready to take the Level 2 exam, the College Board recommends that you have at least three years of college-prep mathematics, including:

  • Two years of algebra
  • One year of geometry
  • Precalculus
  • Trigonometry

Structure

Unlike the general SAT exam, the SAT Math Level 2 exam is only 60 minutes long with just 50 multiple choice questions. Phew! That means that you would have an average of 1.2 minutes to answer each question. Keep in mind that it is still possible to obtain a high score without answering all 50 questions. You will learn more about scoring below.

Topics Covered

Following are the topics and subtopics you can expect to see on the SAT Math Level 2 exam along with the approximate percentage of each that appears on the test. It's also important to note that questions on the exam start out easier and get progressively harder as you go.

Numbers and Operations (10%-14%): Operations, ratio and proportion, complex numbers, counting, elementary number theory, matrices, sequences, series, vectors

Algebra and Functions (48%-52%): Expressions, equations, inequalities, representation and modeling, properties of functions (linear, polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, trigonometric, inverse trigonometric, periodic, piecewise, recursive, parametric)

Geometry and Measurement - Coordinate (10%-14%): Lines, parabolas, circles, ellipses, hyperbolas, symmetry, transformations, polar coordinates

Geometry and Measurement - Three-dimensional (4%-6%): Solids, surface area and volume (cylinders, cones, pyramids, spheres, prisms), coordinates in three dimensions

Geometry and Measurement - Trigonometry (12%-16%): Right triangles, identities, radian measure, law of cosines, law of sines, equations, double angle formulas

Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability (8%-12%): Mean, median, mode, range, interquartile range, standard deviation, graphs and plots, least squares regression (linear, quadratic, exponential), probability

Scoring

Exams are scored on a scale of 200-800 points. First, a raw score is calculated. This is basically a sum of the points you earned for all correct answers minus deductions for wrong answers. (So be careful with guessing!)

Here are the details on how your raw score is calculated:

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