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In these problems, you’ll be given some information about a scenario and asked to come up with an equation or formula that represents that scenario.
For these problems, you are often asked to interpret what a variable or a constant means in the situation described, or you might be asked what kinds of conclusions can be drawn from a survey.
These types of problems often have no “math” involved, and instead ask you to think logically about a situation.
Being able to identify problems by type on the SAT is a useful prep exercise and can help you on the day you take the test.
You may want to use the Math section from a free practice SAT test and circle all of the word problems.
When most people hear “word problems,” they often think of the popular example of trains traveling at different speeds, or unrealistic applications of math.
However, word problems represent how most people use math in everyday life, and the SAT includes these problems to test students’ ability to reason logically and solve problems.
Many of these problems are not terribly realistic — since when can two laser printers work together on printing one report?
— but it's the technique that they want you to learn, not the applicability to "real life".
Or you could do it by the type of solution the problem requires of you.
We’re going to focus on the second way, simply because trying to divide word problems by topic would mean we’d have to cover virtually every math topic the SAT covers, which is way more than we could fit in a single post.