SAT Math Multiple Choice Question 378: Answer and Explanation
Which of the following best states which thermostat the car manufacturer is likely to choose and why?
- A. Thermostat A because the median of the data is 0, and the range is greater than that of Thermostat B
- B. Thermostat B because the median of the data is 0, and the range is less than that of Thermostat A
- C. Thermostat A because the mode of the data is 0, which indicates a more consistent thermostat
- D. Thermostat B because the data is bimodal (has two modes), which indicates a more consistent thermostat
Correct Answer: B
Category: Problem Solving and Data Analysis / Statistics and Probability
Strategic Advice: When comparing two data sets for consistency, consider both the data center (mean or median) and the spread (standard deviation or range).
Getting to the Answer: Each set of data has a median of 0, and Thermostat A also has a mode of 0. Both of these measures indicate good test results. However, Thermostat A has a greater range of data. If the company chooses this thermostat, the cooling fan is likely to engage anywhere from –9 degrees below the target temperature to 10 degrees above the target temperature. Although this is within the safe temperature range, it is not as consistent as Thermostat B, which engaged the fan within 6 degrees on either side of the target temperature. This means (B) is correct.