SAT Math Multiple Choice Question 587: Answer and Explanation

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Test Information

Question: 587

Bowling Scores
Ian Mae Jin
Game 1 160 110 120
Game 2 135 160 180
Game 3 185 140 105
Game 4 135 130 160
Game 5 185 110 135
Mean Score 160 130 140
Standard Deviation 22 19 27

2. Ian, Mae, and Jin bowled five games during a bowling tournament. The table above shows their scores. According to the data, which of the following conclusions is correct?

  • A. Ian bowled the most consistently because the mean of his scores is the highest.
  • B. Mae bowled the least consistently because the standard deviation of her scores is the lowest.
  • C. Mae bowled the most consistently because the standard deviation of her scores is the lowest.
  • D. Jin bowled the most consistently because the standard deviation of his scores is the highest.

Correct Answer: C

Explanation:

C

Difficulty: Medium

Category: Problem Solving and Data Analysis / Statistics and Probability

Strategic Advice: The keyword in the answer choices is "consistently," which relates to how spread out a player's scores are. Standard deviation, not mean, is a measure of spread so you can eliminate choice A right away.

Getting to the Answer: A lower standard deviation indicates scores that are less spread out and therefore more consistent. Likewise, a higher standard deviation indicates scores that are more spread out and therefore less consistent. Notice the opposite nature of this relationship: lower standard deviation = more consistent; higher standard deviation = less consistent. Choice (C) is correct because the standard deviation of Mae's scores is the lowest, which means she bowled the most consistently.

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