 Math Section

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Multiple Choice Versus Student-Produced Response

The PSAT math sections include a total of 28 multiple choice questions, each with five answer choices (A–E). The answer choices correspond to the circles on your answer sheet. The multiple choice questions cover the content previously discussed in this chapter. You may use a calculator to assist you in answering any of the multiple choice questions, but none of the questions actually require the use of a calculator.

You will not receive credit for anything that you write in your test booklet, but you should work through the problems in the available space so that you can check your work. Be sure to do enough practice to determine just how much space you will need to solve various problems. You can use whatever space is available in the section on which you are working, but you cannot move to another section in search of blank space to solve your math problems. As mentioned earlier, if you don't know the answer to a question, mark it in your test booklet and come back to it later if you have time. If you are able to eliminate answer choices, cross them off in your test booklet. Make an educated guess if you are able to eliminate at least one answer choice. Remember that you get one point for each correct answer and zero points for answers that are left blank. If you answer a question incorrectly, you will lose an additional of a point.

The PSAT math sections include a total of 10 student-produced response, or grid-in questions. These questions also cover the content previously discussed in this chapter. The only real difference between multiple choice questions and grid-in questions is that the latter do not include any answer choices. You must work out the problems in the space provided in your test booklet and fill in the circles on a special part of the answer sheet. You may use a calculator to assist you in answering any of the math questions, but none of the questions actually require the use of a calculator.

You will not receive credit for anything that you write in your test booklet, but you should work through the problems in the available space so that you can check your work. As mentioned earlier, if you don’t know the answer to a question, mark it in your test booklet and come back to it later if you have time. Each correct answer is worth one point; you will not penalized for marking an incorrect answer in this section, so it is to your advantage to fill in an answer, even if you’re not sure it’s correct.

It is a good idea to practice with the answer sheet, or grid. We have included an answer sheet at the end of this chapter. Tear it out and use it as you work through the student-produced response questions that follow. Only the answers that you actually put in the grid will be scored. The grid has four places and can only accommodate positive numbers and zero. As long as your answer is filled in completely, you can start in any column on the grid. The grid includes both decimal points and fraction lines, so you can grid your answer as either a decimal or a fraction. If your answer is zero, be sure to grid it in column 2, 3, or 4.

We’ve included the directions for the student-produced response questions here (see Figure 3.16).

Now that you’ve got a good feel for how to approach the questions found in the PSAT Math sections, try these sample questions. Be sure to read the explanations to help you gain a better understanding of why the correct answer is correct.