If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content

The SAT Math Test: Problem Solving and Data Analysis

In this series of articles, we take a closer look at the SAT Math Test.

SAT Math questions fall into different categories called "domains." One of these domains is Problem Solving and Data Analysis.

You will not need to know domain names for the test; domains are a way for the College Board to break down your math score into helpful subscores on your score report.
Problem Solving and Data Analysis questions might ask you to create an appropriate equation from a word problem, convert units, or understand the meaning of different numbers or variables in an equation. You might need to use the different properties of operations (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication/Division, Addition/Subtraction = PEMDAS).
Problems in this category may require you to use ratios, rates, and proportions. In college and beyond, you will need to interpret and synthesize data, so these are skills that are well worth developing!
Just a few examples of problems you will be asked to solve:
  • Converting units (for example changing km/hr to meters/second)
  • Choosing appropriate graphical representations for data sets
  • Interpreting the slope and intercepts of a line
  • Computing and interpreting probability
  • Evaluating statistical claims or the results of a study
  • Using percentages in a variety of contexts, including discounts, interest rates, taxes, and tips
Example
A furniture store buys its furniture from a wholesaler. For a particular table, the store usually charges its cost from the wholesaler plus 75, percent. During a sale, the store charged the wholesale cost plus 15, percent. If the sale price of the table was dollar sign, 299, what is the usual price of the table?
Choose 1 answer:
Choose 1 answer:

  • Comparing distributions
Example
Scores of Two Classes in a Quiz
The dot plots above summarize the scores that two classes, each with 24 students, at Central High School achieved on a current events quiz. Which of the following correctly compares the standard deviation of the scores in each of the classes?
Choose 1 answer:
Choose 1 answer:

Are you ready to start practicing your math skills? Head over to the Math Practice Area and try some problems!

Attributions

This article was adapted from the following source: “Test Specifications for the Redesigned SAT.”

Want to join the conversation?

  • marcimus pink style avatar for user NicoleTaylorSTEMstudent
    I am really dedicated to studying, but I do not feel like I am improving. I struggle the most with word problems. How do you recommend I correct this?
    (57 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • blobby green style avatar for user menazegeye25
    how is 15%=1.15? explain this please I don't understand the first example
    (7 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • blobby green style avatar for user Diksha Ragini
      i don't know the question you are talking about, but usually when they ask you for a 15% INCREASE in say x... then you write 1.15x.... for example, they ask you to find out the initial price of a commodity which was later on increased by 15% where the customer ended up paying say $200. then you take initial price of the commodity as X and then add it by 15% of X and equate it to $200.... It'll look like this: X + 0.15X = $200, therefore 1.15X = $200, therefore initial price of the commodity would be X = 173.91304348 or $174 (approximated value).... hope you understood what I said... If not then just try to apply my method in the sums you try....
      (19 votes)
  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user akhileshwara06
    I am unable to get the graphs, per cents, shape of distributions and linear&exponential problems please help me
    (13 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • blobby green style avatar for user ISmyle101
    May I ask why the first one is 1.15x instead of 0.15x. I have a faint understanding of it but I truly don't know.
    (1 vote)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user arushi shah
      Hey! I understand how this can be a little bit confusing. But, hopefully, I can explain it to you! Basically, 15%* means *15/100. In decimal form, this is 0.15. But, when you are adding 15%*, you are adding *15%* to the first *100%* that was there already. *100%* as a fraction is *100/100, also known as 1. 1 + 0.15 = 1.15, and that is how we arrive at our answer! Hope this helps!
      (23 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user anwargadhi
    I have limited time to study. I'm not sure what my strengths and weaknesses are. What do you suggest I do?
    (4 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user kendra
      Hey, anwargadhi! The first thing that you should do is take a diagnostic test. Grade your test, see where you struggled, look over the answer explanations of how they figured the answers. After you have done this, focus on the areas where you struggled and work on them as much as you can. If you feel like you have gotten a good understanding of those areas after a while, you can practice some of the other areas where you did better. Just make sure to focus on the area where you struggle first, and work on that area until you have a good understanding of it. Hope this helps you!
      (5 votes)
  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Kanika
    in which grade level math does problem solving and data analysis fall under? Im in grade 11, but im considering taking math 12 second semester and the SAT in June. Would taking Math 12 (pre-calc) improve my chances for doing well in this area (problem solving and data analysis)?
    (4 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • blobby green style avatar for user oliviakhan10000
    well, my mathematic is low and I need to practice practice practice but from which part to start on khan academy?, I already get familiar with tips and strategies but I need math for SAT from the beginning, questions with explanations!
    could you help me please!
    (3 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • duskpin seed style avatar for user Elaine Tracy
    given x + 4y = 11 and x + z = 10
    if z is one less than y how do you find the value of x?
    (3 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • blobby green style avatar for user vermashrey2001
    What do you do after you find the 15% of 299? I know it is 260, but what did you do with the 75% to get 455?
    (2 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • duskpin sapling style avatar for user Lin Gh.
      You don't find the 15% of 299, you find the wholesale price, in which itself plus 15% is equal to 299.

      Let's say that the wholesale price is x, then x + 15/100x is equal to 299.

      x + 0.15x = 299
      1.15x = 299
      x = 260

      It says then that the normal price is the wholesale price plus 75%, so we want to find
      x + 0.75x

      which is equal to 1.75x
      and then we can substitute x = 260 so we get
      1.75 * 260 = 455.
      (3 votes)
  • area 52 yellow style avatar for user Asher Wyatt
    im confused about what standard deviation means as it says problem a shows less deviation despite being way more random and fluctuated than problem b, which is the same all the way through. How is standard deviation supposed to be used to understand the similarities and differences of the numbers of graphs, charts, groups etc?
    (1 vote)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Hecretary Bird
      The standard deviation of a data set is a measure of how close the average value is to the mean. In other words, it tells you how spread out or clustered together a data set is.
      For example, if a certain bunch of data had a standard deviation of 3, the average distance between a random value and the mean of the data would be 3 units. Note that since we're talking about distance (absolute), standard deviation can't be negative.
      On the SAT, you won't be asked to ever compute the standard deviation, just about its concept and how to recognize a higher or lower standard deviation from a graph, as far as I know. Good luck!
      (2 votes)