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Desmos: The Game-Changer for the New SAT

Learn how you can empower your students to approach the new SAT with confidence and skill

The SAT has undergone a significant revamp, and it’s time to gear up your students for success. Launched in March 2024, the new SAT has made a crucial change that will impact how you prepare your students for this critical exam. The College Board has finally given students what they’ve been asking for: calculator use throughout the entire Math section. But that’s not all – they’ve integrated the leading online graphing calculator, Desmos, into the test environment.

What is the Desmos calculator?

Desmos, a powerful online graphing calculator, boasts an impressive array of math functions, from statistics to systems. This integration reflects the growing reliance on technology in learning environments, but it’s important to remember that simply having access to Desmos doesn’t guarantee success on the SAT.

Tips and Tricks for Desmos

As educators, it’s crucial to guide your students in effectively utilizing Desmos to their advantage. Here are some tips and tricks to share with your students:

  1. Copy and Paste: With Desmos integrated into the test environment, students can copy and paste equations and values into the calculator, minimizing user error.
  2. Function Junction: Under the keyboard icon, there’s a whole list of functions, from Mean, Median, and Range, to Sin, Cos, and Tan. Encourage your students to explore these presets to tackle tricky calculations.
  3. Graphing: Non-linear equations and graphing questions have become the most frequent items on the test. Empower your students to use Desmos to graph parabolas and higher-order functions with ease.

However, it’s essential to remind your students that while Desmos is a powerful tool, it’s not a magic wand. Many problems still require math skills that calculators can’t handle (yet). Plus, the College Board is known for creating complex questions that will test students’ math knowledge, calculator or not.

As always, the key to increasing scores is practice. Encourage your students to use the tools available to them, but emphasize the importance of understanding the underlying math concepts. The SAT continues to focus heavily on Algebra, particularly linear and non-linear equations.

If your students lack confidence in solving for x without help, it’s time to log some practice hours. Utilize resources like the College Board’s Bluebook app or collaborate with Academic Approach instructors to provide your students with targeted practice and guidance.

Next Steps to Prepare for SAT Math with Desmos:

As educators, you have the power to bring SAT prep to your school and help your students succeed. By guiding them in effectively using Desmos and reinforcing foundational math skills, you can empower your students to approach the new SAT with confidence and skill. Remember, it’s a poor craftsperson that blames their tools, and a poor mathematician that relies solely on a calculator!

At Academic Approach, we understand the importance of preparing students for the new SAT, and we’re here to help. Our expert instructors can work with you to develop customized classroom SAT instruction and preparation programs tailored to your students’ needs. By incorporating Desmos training, test-taking strategies, and focused practice on critical math concepts, we can help your students build the skills and confidence they need to excel on the new SAT. Together, we can ensure that your students are well-equipped to tackle the challenges of the new exam and achieve their full potential.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your school’s SAT preparation efforts.

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