SAT Math Multiple Choice Practice Question 413: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 413

17. A basketball team had a ratio of wins to losses of 3:1. After the team won six games in a row, its ratio of wins to losses became 5:1. How many games had the team won before winning six games in a row?

A. 3
B. 6
C. 9
D. 15
E. 24

Correct Answer: C


C And yet again, the slow way to solve a word problem like this is to set up equations. Letting w and l represent the number of wins and losses, respectively, the slow method of setting up equations would yield the following:

Then you'd have to substitute for in the second equation and solve for l and then go back to solve for w.

We can also plug in the answer choices, starting in the middle, C, and see which one works:

Bingo! We found the answer on the first try! If C didn't work, you'd move up or down depending on whether the result was too small or too big.

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