SAT Math Multiple Choice Question 581: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 581

11. The United States Senate has two voting members for each of the 50 states. The 113th Congress had a 4:1 male-to-female ratio in the Senate. Forty-five of the male senators were Republican. Only 20 percent of the female senators were Republican. How many senators in the 113th Congress were Republican?

  • A. 20
  • B. 49
  • C. 55
  • D. 65

Correct Answer: B



Difficulty: Medium

Category: Problem Solving and Data Analysis / Rates, Ratios, Proportions, and Percentages

Strategic Advice: Break the question into short steps. Step 1: Find the number of female senators. Step 2: Use that number to find the number of female Republican senators. Step 3: Find the total number of Republican senators.

Getting to the Answer: Each of the 50 states gets 2 voting members in the Senate, so there are 50 × 2 = 100 senators. The ratio of males to females in the 113th Congress was 4:1, so 4 parts male plus 1 part female equals a total of 100 senators. Write this as 4x + x = 100, where x represents one part and therefore the number of females. Next, simplify and solve the equation to find that x = 20 female senators. To find the number of female senators that were Republican, multiply 20% (or 0.20) times 20 to get 4. Finally, add to get 45 male plus 4 female = 49 Republican senators in the 113th Congress.

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