SAT Math Multiple Choice Question 486: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 486


Which of the following best describes the type of association shown in the scatterplot above?

  • A. linear, positive
  • B. linear, negative
  • C. exponential, positive
  • D. exponential, negative

Correct Answer: C



Difficulty: Easy

Category: Problem Solving and Data Analysis / Scatterplots

Strategic Advice: Examine both the shape and the direction of the data to pick the best description of the association.

Getting to the Answer: A data set that has a linear association follows the path of a straight line; a data set that is exponential follows a path that is similar to linear data, but with a curve to it because the rate of increase (or decrease) changes over time. This data set has a curve to it, so "exponential" describes the association better than "linear." This means you can eliminate A and B. A positive association between two variables is one in which higher values of one variable correspond to higher values of the other variable, and vice versa. In other words, as the x-values of the data points go up, so do the y-values. This is indeed the case for this data set, so (C) is correct.

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