SAT Math Multiple Choice Question 517: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 517

7.

Most crimes in the United States are governed by state law rather than federal. Suppose two states passed laws that raised the penalty for committing armed robbery. The figure above represents the crime rate for armed robbery in both states after the laws were passed. Based on the graph, which of the following statements is true?

  • A. State A's law had a more positive impact on the crime rate for armed robbery.
  • B. State B's law had a more positive impact on the crime rate for armed robbery.
  • C. The laws in both states had the same impact on the crime rate for armed robbery.
  • D. Without axis labels, it is not possible to determine which state's law had a bigger impact.

Correct Answer: B

Explanation:

B

Difficulty: Easy

Category: Heart of Algebra / Linear Equations

Strategic Advice: Compare the differences in the two lines to the statements in the answer choices. Pay careful attention to which line represents each state. Be careful—this is a real-world scenario, and the word "positive" does not refer to the slope of the lines.

Getting to the Answer: The key difference between the lines in the graph is their slopes. The dashed line (State B) has a steeper negative slope, while the solid line (State A) has a more gradual slope. This means that the crime rate for armed robbery in State B decreased at a faster rate than in State A. Because, in the real world, a positive impact means fewer crimes, State B's law had a more positive impact on the crime rate for armed robbery.

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