Sample SAT Questions

Critical Reading

Sentence Completion

1. When asked to ----- on an important project, staff members decided to ----- John, an account specialist, as the new project manager.

A. collaborate . . appoint
B. commiserate . . pick
C. work . . suspend
D. deliberate . . rely
E. vote . . identify

2. Because catching Alaskan snow crabs is such an ----- and dangerous process, they are sold in supermarkets at ----- prices.

A. imaginative . . different
B. unpopular . . unpredictable
C. arduous . . exorbitant
D. amicable . . preposterous
E. unreliable . . reasonable

3. His ----- nature allowed him to see the bright side of a situation, even when very few others could.

A. pessimistic
B. humane
C. original
D. biological
E. optimistic

4. Before they ----- for their camping trip on Friday, they went to the mall to purchase some ----- including insect repellent and a flint.

A. arrived . . supplies
B. planned . . considerations
C. wished . . needs
D. departed . . provisions
E. agreed . . rights

Passage Based Questions

Individuals are choosing to have plastic surgery now more than ever before, and the trend is alarming. People are now willing to go under the knife for everything from muscle implants, to breast reductions, to nose jobs. But why is this happening with such increasing frequency?

5Inarguably, some people have legitimate reasons for wanting plastic surgery. Birth defects like cleft palates, for example, are disfiguring medical conditions that can be remedied through plastic surgery. An individual who sustained a broken nose earlier in life may be disfigured by a nose that remains a psychological and physical impairment into adulthood. An untreated broken nose can lead to breathing problems, as well. Rhinoplasty is a merciful solution for those requiring medical care to treat the condition. Therefore, it's not fair to say that no one should have plastic surgery.

However, many individuals who choose to have cosmetic procedures have no physical impairment or debilitation requiring surgery. On the contrary, their desire to "fix" themselves is indicative of deeper issues with self-esteem and self-image. "Fixing" the external appearance through plastic surgery will rarely solve these problems. At the extreme level, people may request plastic surgery so that they can literally change who they are. Asian women having folds added to their eyelids so as to appear differently, women getting breast implants, and older women having facelifts are troubling trends - trends that should make us all stop and wonder why these unfortunate people feel that simply being themselves isn't good enough.

5. In line 5, the word "legitimate" most nearly means

A. legal
B. true
C. valid
D. numerous
E. irrational

6. The passage describes plastic surgery as something

A. that is completely unnecessary.
B. that is acceptable in some circumstances, but not all.
C. that is performed on people with mental health issues.
D. that is being performed less now than it once was.
E. that is effective at solving self-esteem problems.

7. In the final sentence of paragraph 3 ("Asian women…good enough"), the author expresses

A. doubt
B. admiration
C. curiosity
D. dismay
E. acceptance

Math

Multiple Choice

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
655 800 1250 800 1675 1923 2578

8. The table above represents the number of admission tickets that were sold by an amusement park over a seven day period. If x represents the average number of tickets sold, y represents the median number of tickets sold, and z is the number of tickets that were sold most often, which of the following correctly expresses the relationship between these values?

A. x > y > z
B. z > x > y
C. y > x > z
D. x > z > y
E. z > y > x

9. A piggy bank contains 300 pennies, 45 nickels, and 132 quarters. If the number of pennies is reduced by 50% and the number of quarters is increased by 25%, what is the probability that a randomly drawn coin will be a nickel?

A. 45 in 477
B. 1 in 8
C. 45 in 315
D. 1 in 4
E. 45 in 432

10. Which of the following represents the greatest value?

A. 2 more than the square root of 25
B. 15% of 60
C. 20/1.4
D. 32
E. 3 * the product of the smallest two odd numbers

11. If 5x = 1 and y/2 = 3, 2x * y =

A. 2
B. 2.4
C. 3.1
D. 4.3
E. 5.2

Student-Produced Responses

12. │6 – 16y │=2
      │14 – 8y│=10

Which value of y can satisfy both equations?

13. A child is presented with 20 books. She can choose any 3. How many possible combinations of 3 books are there?

Writing

Identifying Sentence Errors

Improving Sentences

16. Math, finding it confusing, is a subject avoided by many high school graduates who go on to attend university.

A. Math, finding it confusing, is a subject avoided by many high school graduates who go on to attend university.
B. Finding it a confusing subject, math, is avoided by many high school graduates who go on to attend university.
C. A subject avoided by many high school graduates who go on to attend university is math, finding it confusing.
D. Because they find it a confusing subject, many high school graduates who go on to attend university avoid math.
E. Because math is confusing, many high school graduates who go on to attend university find it is a subject avoided.

17. The directions they were given were confusing although they did manage to find their way to their destination.

A. The directions they were given were confusing although they did manage to find their way to their destination.
B. The directions they were given were confusing, although they did manage to find their way to their destination.
C. The directions they were given were confusing, although, they did manage to find their way to their destination.
D. Although the directions they were given were confusing, they did manage to find their way to their destination.
E. Although, the directions they were given were confusing, they did manage to find their way to their destination.

Improving Paragraphs

(1)Most people realize that regular exercise can build muscle tone and improve cardiovascular health. (2) What some may not know is that exercise can improve a person's mental health. (3) Intense exercise stimulates the release of endorphins from the brain. (4) All of these are compelling reasons to find an exercise program you enjoy and stick with it. (5)These chemicals can give a person a sense of general well-being and even a feeling of euphoria. (6) In addition, people who exercise regularly usually perform better in school and are better able to manage stress.

18. Sentence 4 would make the most sense if placed after:

A. Sentence 1
B. Sentence 2
C. Sentence 3
D. Sentence 5
E. Sentence 6

19. In context, which of the following revisions should be made to sentence 2?

A. Add "also" after "can."
B. Add "however" to the beginning of the sentence.
C. Combine sentence 2 and sentence 3 to make a single sentence.
D. Change "can" to "will."
E. Delete the word "mental."

Essay

20. "Throughout all of human history, great wars have been fought. Some have been fought over land, others over religious beliefs. One thing is certain, however - starting and fighting wars is something that is entirely natural for humans. To think that war could ever be entirely wiped out from the world is a belief that is completely naïve."

Assignment: Prepare an essay on whether you believe war is something that may one day cease to exist. Be sure to support your opinion using personal observations, experiences, beliefs, and any prior knowledge you may have on the subject.

Answer Key:

1. Correct Answer: A

Explanation: A is the most logical choice. Staff members would likely be asked to collaborate (work together) on an important project, rather than asked to commiserate (sympathize) or vote, eliminating B and E. C can be eliminated because saying the staff decided to suspend John is not a logical choice. After all, John is identified as the new project manager. D is incorrect because inserting "rely" into the second blank will cause the sentence to be grammatically incorrect.

2. Correct Answer: C

Explanation: This sentence is describing a cause/effect relationship, and C is the only reasonable choice. Catching Alaskan snow crabs is arduous (dangerous), which is why they are sold at exorbitant (very expensive) prices. None of the other pairs of words, when inserted, produce a sentence that describes a logical cause/effect relationship.

3. Correct Answer: E

Explanation: The sentence describes someone who is able to see the bright side of a situation. Someone who is able to do this is usually known as an optimist, making E the best answer choice. The other answer choices cannot be inserted into the blank space in the sentence without obscuring the intended meaning.

4. Correct Answer: D

Explanation: D is the logical choice. People would go to the mall before they departed (left) for a trip. While there, they would purchase provisions (supplies) like insect repellent and a flint. A is not correct because people would probably go to the mall before they departed, not before they arrived. B and C are not logical because it's unlikely the items identified (insect repellent and a flint) would be purchased before a camping trip was planned or desired. E can be eliminated because inserting "agreed" makes the sentence grammatically incorrect.

5. Correct Answer: C

Explanation: In the passage, the word "legitimate" is closest in meaning to the word "valid". Although the word can also mean legal or true, these words do not make logical sense in the context of the paragraph. Choices D and E are not synonyms for legitimate, and do not logically convey the meaning of the sentence.

6. Correct Answer: B

Explanation: The passage is organized in such a way that it contrasts valid reasons for having plastic surgery with more superficial reasons. The second paragraph describes acceptable reasons for wanting to have plastic surgery, and identifies birth defects as an example of a good and valid reason. The third paragraph mentions questionable reasons to have plastic surgery, and cites the desire to fix emotional problems as an example of these. Therefore, B is the best answer choice.

7. Correct Answer: D

Explanation: The final sentence of the passage expresses dismay about the fact that more people are having plastic surgery. The trend is identified as "troubling" in the sentence. The notion that some people have that being themselves isn't good enough is identified as "unfortunate." Therefore, D is the best answer choice.

8. Correct Answer: A

To answer this question, the values of x, y, and z must be calculated. To calculate the value of x, we must find the average number of tickets sold over the seven days.

First, find the total number of tickets sold over the seven days: 655 + 800 + 1250 + 800 + 1675 + 1923 + 2578 = 9681

Then, to find the average, divide this value by 7 (the total number of days): 9681/7 = 1383

Therefore, x = 1383

y represents the median number of tickets sold. To find this, the seven numbers should be put in order, from lowest to highest:
655 800 800 1250 1675 1923 2578
The number that falls in the middle is the median.

Therefore, y = 1250

z represents the number of tickets that were sold most often. There are only two days when the same number of tickets were sold. 800 tickets were sold on both Tuesday and Thursday.

Therefore, z = 800

Now, we must find the relationship between these values. x = 1383; y=1250; z = 800
Looking at the values, we see that x > y > z.

Therefore, A is the correct answer choice.

9. Correct Answer: B

Explanation: To calculate the probability that a randomly drawn coin will be a nickel, the total number of coins in the piggy bank must be determined.

The number of pennies is reduced by 50%. To find the number of pennies remaining, simply divide 300 by 2: 300/2 = 150
Therefore, there are 150 pennies.

The number of quarters is increased by 25%. To find the new number of quarters, first calculate 25% of 132: 132 * 0.25 = 33
Then, add this to the number of quarters originally in the bank: 132 + 33 = 165

Then, calculate the total number of coins in the bank: 150 + 45 + 165 = 360

Therefore, the probability that a randomly drawn coin will be a nickel is 45 in 360.
This can be simplified by dividing both values by 45, giving 1 in 8.

10. Correct Answer: C

Explanation: To find out which answer choice represents the greatest value, it's necessary to calculate each of the values. A. The square root of 25 is 5. Therefore, 2 more than the square root of 25 is 7. B. To find 15% of 60: 60 * .15 = 9 C. To find this value, simply divide 20 by 1.4: 20 / 1.4 = 14.29 D. To find this value, simply multiple 3 by itself: 3 * 3 = 9 E. To find this value, first find the product of the two smallest odd numbers: 1 * 3 = 3
Then, multiple by 3: 3 * 3 = 9

Looking at these values, we see that C is the correct answer.

11. Correct Answer: B

Explanation: To answer this question, it's necessary to find the value of x and y.
First, we must solve for x: 5x = 1
To isolate x, divide both sides by 5: x = 1/5
Then, we must solve for y: y/2 = 3
To isolate y, multiply both sides by 2: y = 6

Then, substitute the values of x and y into the given equation to calculate the value:
2x * y =
2 (1/5) * 6 =
2/5 * 6 = 12/5 or 2.4

12. Correct Answer: 1/2

*In this section of the test, no answer choices will be given. You will be required to enter your answer in the grid provided.

Explanation: First, we must find the possible values of y for each equation. Since we are dealing with absolute values, we know that 6 - 16y = 2 or -2. Both values must be calculated.

6 - 16y = 2
-16y = 2 - 6
-16y = -4
y = -4/-16
y = 1/4

6 - 16y = -2
-16y = -2 - 6
-16y = -8
y = -8/-16
y = 1/2

Therefore, y = 1/4 or 1/2

Since we are dealing with absolute values, we know that 14 - 8y = 10 or -10. Both values must be calculated.

14 - 8y = 10
-8y = 10 - 14
-8y = -4
y = -4/-8
y = 1/2

14 - 8y = -10
-8y = -10 - 14
-8y = -24
y = -24/-8
y = 3

Therefore, y = 1/2 or 3

The value of y that can satisfy both equations is 1/2

13. Correct Answer: 6840

*In this section of the test, no answer choices will be given. You will be required to enter your answer in the grid provided.

Explanation: This is a combination problem. We can express this as 20P3 because there are 20 possible choices but only combinations of 3 will be chosen. 20 is the number we will begin with, and 3 is the number of values we will use to come up with the answer. Therefore, the number of combinations is 20 * 19 * 18 = 6840 There are 6840 possible combinations.

14. Correct Answer: A

Explanation: The sentence describes a single problem with using credit cards to make purchases (The high interest rates make it difficult to pay off the debt). Therefore, the phrase "main problems" is incorrect because the word "problem" must be used in the singular, not the plural form.

The main problem with using credit cards to make purchases is that the high interest rates make it almost impossible to pay off the debt in a timely manner.

15. Correct Answer: D

Explanation: The word "dispute" means to have an opinion that counters or goes "against" another opinion. To say that the journalist was "disputing against" a notion or idea is redundant. The word "against" is not needed and adds nothing to the sentence. It is sufficient to say that the journalist disputes the notion that public transit is convenient an affordable.

This sentence should be fixed in the following manner:

Shelley Waters, a respected journalist, prepared a report on the true costs of taking the bus to work each day to dispute the notion that public transit is convenient and affordable.

16. Correct Answer: D

Explanation: D expresses the information in the sentence correctly and clearly. It is the only choice that clearly expresses the aversion that many high school graduates have toward math. Choice A is incorrect because it doesn't indicate who finds math confusing. B is unclear because, like choice A, exactly who finds math confusing is not indicated. Choice C is awkward because of where the phrase "finding it confusing" is placed. E does not correctly express the idea of the sentence. It is in fact the students who do the avoiding, but this sentence implies that students discover the subject is avoided when they go to university.

17. Correct Answer: D

Explanation: The sentence indicates that people found their way to a destination in spite of the fact that they were given confusing directions. D is the only answer choice that properly expresses this relationship. A, B, and C are not suitable choices because the word "although" appears in the middle of the sentence rather than at the beginning. It is punctuated and interposed into the sentence incorrectly. Because of this, the relationship between the two phrases is broken up and lost. Choice E is similarly incorrect because of the comma after "although."

18. Correct Answer: E

Explanation: Sentence 4 would be most effective if used as the paragraph's conclusion. The entire paragraph outlines the benefits of exercise. They are all good reasons to make an effort to exercise more regularly, which is precisely what is stated in sentence 4.

19. Correct Answer: A

Explanation: A is the best answer choice. Without the word "also" in this sentence, there is no obvious relationship between sentence 1 and 2. By adding the adverb "also", the meaning or argument of the paragraph is strengthened and a certain emphasis is added. The first sentence states exercise is good for the body. The second adds to it by stating that exercise is also good for the mind.

Last Updated: 04/24/2014

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