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Answer Explanations for: SAT October 2011

This document contains detailed answer explanations to every question from the October 1, 2011 SAT, Form Codes AEHE, BWHE. Many Mathematics and Writing explanations also link to content pages that explain the relevant grammatical and mathematical concepts in greater detail. Please note that this document contains the explanations only, and does not provide the test questions themselves; it is a tool intended for use with a copy of your test that you purchased from the College Board via the Question and Answer Service (QAS). The following are sample explanations:

Section 2: Mathematics
5) C) Multiply the number of inches dispensed each time by how many times the sensor is triggered: 6 • n = 6n. Another way of thinking about this situation is that it is a linear function with a slope of 6 and a y-intercept of zero. When modeling a linear situation, the y-intercept (b in y = mx + b) is equal to the fixed amount and the slope (m in y = mx + b) is equal to the variable or “per something” amount. In this case, the fixed amount (the y-intercept) is equal to zero since zero inches of paper towel are dispensed if the sensor is never triggered. d(n) is simply function notation for d as a function of n. In function notation, d(n) represents the y-value. See equation building and function notation.

Section 3: Critical Reading
12) D) This movement, as described in lines 2-4, is the movement away from a human focus in nature writing. A is incorrect because the rest of the passage describes the impacts this change had on nature writing and its readers. B is incorrect because the passage states that Thoreau himself made this shift in his own writing towards the end of his career (lines 4-5). C is incorrect because the passage describes a downside of this shift in lines 7-12. E is tempting, but it is too strongly negative, since the author admits one positive aspect of the shift in line 6. D is correct because the author describes the good things (line 6) and the bad things (lines 7-12) about this shift.

Section 5: Writing
5) E) The original sentence features a verb agreement error, since the plural verb “have” does not agree with the singular subject “each.” Although it would be easy to mistake the plural “architects” for the subject of the sentence, “architects” is the object of the prepositional phrase beginning with the word “of,” and the simple subject of a sentence can never be found within a prepositional phrase. It is often difficult to recognize verb agreement errors just by using your ear, so whenever a verb is underlined, it is wise to match it with its simple subject to check for agreement. B is incorrect for the same reason as the original sentence. Because the action described in the second part of the sentence took place in the past, “had” is needed instead of “has,” since “has” would indicate that some architects have not yet finished presenting their plans. Therefore, C is incorrect. E is correct over D because the present participle “presenting” is appropriate in this context instead of the instead of the infinitive “to present.” See verb tense. Continue reading

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