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# Does Calculus help with SAT I Math and SAT II Math 2?

Math II I'd imagine it would be a huge help, with all my newfound fancy limit knowledge I didn't know before. During a practice test I forgot how to find the vertex of a parabola so I set the derivative equal to zero to get it, was pretty proud of that. SAT I Math, I doubt it would help at all.

Does anyone else have testimonies of using Calculus in these?
6 replies

## Replies to: Does Calculus help with SAT I Math and SAT II Math 2?

• 4728 replies19 threads Senior Member
edited February 2014
Well, the vertex of a parabola can easily be found in general. Letting f(x) = ax^2 + bx + c, f'(x) = 2ax + b, setting f'(x) = 0 gives x = -b/2a. Limits on Math II are pretty basic, but if you had never seen limits before taking calculus, more power to you.

A similar scenario I've seen occurred when I had to find the minimum value of x + (1/x) (or something like that, idr) where x > 0. You can do this with calculus without too much effort, but AM-GM gives a slick, one-second solution, giving x = 1 as the value that minimizes x + 1/x.
edited February 2014
• 52 replies1 threads Junior Member
@MITer94 and @BassGuitar

Couldn't you just use a graphing calculator to solve both those problems? Less chance for error and it doesn't take that long.
• 2396 replies85 threads Senior Member
Yeah, a graphing calculator can solve this pretty quickly. If not, we can use algebra to solve it. I don't think calculus is needed to do SAT Math and Math level 2. Halfway through precalculus, I took the sat II math II and I got a 780 compared to the 680 that I got in SAT II math I in sophomore year. I'm a junior right now. I would say that you should focus on the concepts in algebra, geometry and pre-calculus.