My students are always looking for the fastest way to solve math problems. Try your hand at solving the following problem: “If x is greater than 0, n is a nonnegative integer, and 2x to the n+1 plus x to the n+2 = x to the n+3, which of the following must equal X cubed? OK, times up. What answer did you get and how did you solve this problem. I solved the problem by factoring out x to the n. This left me with the answer: 2x + x squared. Although this method worked several of my students came up with a faster solution by substituting 2 for x. I had to admit that this was a faster way of solving the problem. However, Tiffany came up with a super fast way to solve the problem. She simply substituted 0 for n into both sides of the equation. This immediately left the answer that 2x + x squared = x cubed. Tiffany’s insightful solution demonstrates a key point about SAT math problems. There are often several ways to solve a problem. The fastest way is usually an approach that is very direct and mathematically elegant.

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