By Hinda Elman

Before you look at the answer choices in the SAT test, consider the question: the people who write the SAT put distractors among the answer choices: answer choices that look right, but are not. For instance one of them can be a value you would get during the solving of the problem: if you take a look at the answers you may get tricked into thinking you have solved the question before you actually have.

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Sometimes the most obvious way of finding a solution is also the longest way. For instance take the following question:

At certain diner, Mike orders 3 eggs and a cup of coffee and is charged  $ 2.25. July orders 2 eggs and a cup of coffee  and is charged $1.70.

What is the price of 2 eggs?

 

  • $0.55   (B) $0.60    (C) $1.10    (D) $1.30    (E) $1.80

 

You can solve this problem using two different variables, for instance X for the price of the coffee and Y for the price of one egg, and solving the two equations by finding y in terms of  x. But this will take some time.

If you stop for a minute and look for a shortcut, you will see that there is a faster way:

First organize the information given in a table:

 

COFEE EGGS COST ($)
1 3 2.25
1 2 1.70
0 1 0.55

 

The difference in price between three eggs and a cup of coffee and two eggs and a cup of coffee is the price of one egg.

$2.25 – $1.70 = $0.55

Notice that that’s choice (A) ……don’t get caught on the trap! This is one of the distractors answer we’ve been talking about …$0.55 is the price of one egg, but if you read the question carefully you will see that  it’s asking for the price of two eggs. So the correct answer is $1.10..choice (C).

hinda.elman@yahoo.com

Sat Math Tutor

Sourse: Edition 14 Aldea Magazine

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