# SAT Math Multiple Choice Question 901: Answer and Explanation

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**Question: 901**

**1.** If *a* and *b* are solutions to the equation, and *a* < *b*, what is the value of *a*?

- A. -4
- B. -1
- C. 1
- D. 4

**Correct Answer:** A

**Explanation:**

**A**

**Difficulty:** Medium

**Category:** Passport to Advanced Math / Exponents

**Strategic Advice:** When a rational equation has two terms (not counting 0), move one term to the other side of the equation and cross-multiply.

**Getting to the Answer:** Move the second term to the right-hand side of the equal sign by subtracting it (mentally) from both sides. Then cross-multiply. The result gives a quadratic equation, which you can solve by factoring:

Setting each factor equal to 0 gives *x* = -1 and *x* = -4. Neither solution is extraneous, and the question states that *a* < *b*, so *a* is the smaller of the two values, which is -4, or (A).