SAT Math Multiple Choice Question 848: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 848

8. When water is heated in a closed system, the vapor pressure increases slowly at firstand then more rapidly. As the water reaches the boiling point of 100°C, the vaporpressure reaches 1 atm, known as 1 standard atmosphere. Which of the following modelsbest describes the increase in vapor pressure as water is heated to its boiling point?

  • A. Linear
  • B. Quadratic
  • C. Polynomial
  • D. Exponential

Correct Answer: D

Explanation:

D

Difficulty: Medium

Category: Problem Solving and Data Analysis / Scatterplots

Strategic Advice: Don't let the scientific terminology in a question like this intimidate you. You don't need to know any chemistry to answer this question.

Getting to the Answer: The key to this question is understanding the shapes of various models. Linear models show a constant increase or decrease, so eliminate A. Quadratic models show data that either increases then decreases, or the reverse, so eliminate B. Polynomial models show data that change direction multiple times, so eliminate C as well. This means (D) must be correct. Exponential models show data that either increase slowly at first and then more rapidly (as in this question), or decrease rapidly at first and then more slowly.

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