A lot of students hit a wall when taking Algebra for the first time. Most standardized tests include many math topics from what is referred to as “the heart of Algebra”. This poses a clear obstacle for most students who are already struggling with the topic and expected to utilize their knowledge of this subject area on the SAT/ACT. However, many problems can actually be solved with little to no Algebra if you use the right approach.

The table method is most students favorite test-taking strategies. It applies to problems of more than one variable typically systems of equations which are found on every standardized test. However, it doesn’t require any complex algebra. Instead, it simply requires the student to build a table for the two variables from one equation and then these values are checked in the other equation. In most cases this is just as fast if not faster than solving for the variables using traditional approaches, but more importantly less prone to errors.

Many word problems can be solved this way. It requires a little more effort to determine which of the two variables is given in the answer space, but it avoids the algebra that often slows a student down when solving these types of questions. I remind students often that these tests are designed to slow them down. An approach like this one will provide the student with more time on the exam which correlates to increased test scores.

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