SAT Sample Math Test: Calculator Questions

By Geraldine Woods, Ron Woldoff

In the calculator section of the new SAT Mathematics test, you get 55 minutes to tackle 37 questions. The 30 multiple-choice questions now have four answers to choose from instead of five. Six math questions also have grid-in answers, and one math question is an extended thinking question, with a few layers of complication (however, it’s worth four points instead of one).

Sample Questions

  1. A box has exactly 11 marbles in it. Three of the marbles are green, six are yellow, and the rest are red. If one marble is drawn at random from the box, what is the probability that the marble is red?

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  2. Three cars drove past a speed-limit sign on a highway. Car A was traveling twice as fast as Car B, and Car C was traveling 20 miles per hour faster than Car B. If Car C was traveling at 60 miles per hour, how fast was Car A going?

    (A) 20 miles per hour

    (B) 30 miles per hour

    (C) 40 miles per hour

    (D) 80 miles per hour

  3. If 3 less than twice a number is 13, what is 5 times the number?

    (A) 8

    (B) 30

    (C) 40

    (D) 50

    image1.png

  4. According to the circle graph, how many of the pizza toppings individually represent more than 25 percent of total sales?

    (A) one

    (B) two

    (C) three

    (D) four

    image2.png

  5. According to the chart, how many cats are kept as pets among the five families polled?

    (A) 4

    (B) 7

    (C) 9

    (D) 11

Answers and Explanations

  1. C. You know that three marbles are green and six are yellow, so nine of the marbles are already accounted for. That leaves

    image3.png

    red marbles in the box. The probability of drawing a red marble is the number of red marbles divided by the number of marbles in the box, or

    image4.png

    Choice (C).

  2. D. You know that Car C is traveling at 60 miles per hour. Because Car C is going 20 miles per hour faster than Car B, you can determine that Car B is traveling 40 miles per hour

    image5.png

    Finally, because Car A is traveling twice as fast as Car B, Car A’s speed is

    image6.png

    miles per hour, Choice (D).

  3. C. Call the unknown number in the question x. You know that 3 less than twice x is 13. Turning that into math:

    image7.png

    You can solve that equation by adding 3 to both sides and then dividing by 2 to get

    image8.png

    Make sure that you don’t get fooled here and think that 8 is the answer! The question asks for what five times the number (x) is, so

    image9.png

    Choice (C).

  4. B. In this problem, you need to remember that 25 percent of something is a quarter.

    Because you’re looking for which pizza toppings represent more than a quarter of total sales, you’re looking for toppings that take up more than a quarter of the circle. Keep in mind that a quarter of a circle has a central angle of 90 degrees, so any central angle that is bigger than 90 degrees is part of a sector that is more than 25 percent. Pepperoni and Mushrooms seem to be the only toppings that take up more than a quarter, so your answer is two, Choice (B).

  5. D. First, read the chart and determine how many cats each family has.

    Cats are indicated by the darker bars on the chart, so Family 1 has two cats, Family 2 has no cats (only dogs), Family 3 has four cats, Family 4 has two cats, and Family 5 has three cats. Add all of the cats together:

    image10.png

    There are 11 pet cats among these five families, Choice (D).