Data Analysis, Statistics & Probability
Types of DS&P Items
On the SAT, the DS&P items are one of four basic types:
  • Graph(ics)
  • Data Puzzlers
  • No Problem with Probability
  • What the #!*@?
A Graph(ics) item is any item that is accompanied by a graph or chart. The majority of these items simply test whether you can understand and interpret the information being presented to you. These are the Just Read It Vanilla items we covered in the last section. More difficult items will ask you to perform some type of operation on the graph or chart. These are the Chunky Operations Chocolate items.
This is what a typical Graph(ics) item looks like:
4. What two years had the least difference in gross national product?
(A) 1986 and 1990
(B) 1986 and 1988
(C) 1986 and 1987
(D) 1987 and 1989
(E) 1989 and 1990
Data Puzzlers
Data Puzzler items involve sets of numbers and usually ask about mean, median, mode, range, or any combination of them. The reason we call them puzzlers is because the correct answer usually requires you to find some missing piece of information that was not asked about directly. A typical Data Puzzler item will look a lot like this:
7. If the average of 13, 6, 9, x, and y is 12, what is the average of x + y?
(A) 6
(B) 9
(C) 12
(D) 16
(E) 32
No Problem with Probability
No Problem with Probability items ask about the chances of a certain event happening or not happening. The majority of answer choices for this item type will be in fraction form:
9. If a card is pulled at random from an ordinary 52-card deck of playing cards, what is the probability of pulling a face card (Jack, Queen, or King)?
What the #!*@?
What the #!*@? items deal with factorials, permutations, and combinations. As we already mentioned, these items almost always appear at the end of Math sets, because they are pretty difficult. A typical What the #!*@? looks like this:
17. Susanne has eleven different medals from her two years of competitive swimming. Unfortunately, the mounting frame she wishes to place them in has room for only two. How many different combinations of medals can Susanne place in her frame?
(A) 21
(B) 33
(C) 55
(D) 66
(E) 110
Each of these item types requires a different strategic approach to solve for the right answer. Your goal is to familiarize yourself with both the item type and the strategies that are specific to the particular item.
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