|Source: Married to the Sea.|
This started out as an Old MacDonald’s farm question. No wait, I thought to myself, not depressing enough.
The prize this week: You’ll get the satisfaction of knowing that you probably solved this problem in less time than I spent staring at my computer screen trying to come up with a clever prize for this week. I swear I used to be more creative.
In Wendell’s house, the ratio of unopened credit card offers to out-of-date phone books is 9 to 5. The ratio of magazines to crushed loose cigarettes is 25 to 7, and the ratio of McDonald’s Happy Meal toys to rotting, half-eaten pizzas is 3 to 2. There are 6 used-up batteries lying around for each broken VCR. The ratio of crushed loose cigarettes to McDonald’s Happy Meal toys is 5 to 8, and the ratio of used-up batteries to out-of-date phone books is 5 to 7. There are 30 magazines for each 4 broken VCRs. If there were 108 unopened credit card offers, how many rotting, half-eaten pizzas would Wendell have in his house?
Solution below the cut.
The SAT would never throw such a complex question at you, but the solution I advocate is one that might help you on the harder ratio questions the SAT will toss your way. Remember that on ratio questions, units are paramount. When you’re presented with ratios of more than two things and asked to suss out the relationship between just two of those things, the best and most elegant solution is to line up all the fractions and multiply them together, eliminating unwanted units along the way. Let me show you what I mean:
What we’re given: a bunch of ratios relating together the following things (in order of appearance):
What we want: the ratio of unopened credit card offers (CCO) to rotting, half-eaten pizzas (HEP). Once we have that ratio, then we’ll deal with the 108 CCO.
How we get there: Start by listing the ratios that contain the units you want. Make sure to put CCO on top, and HEP on bottom.
We need to get rid of PBK and HMT, so let’s find some ratios we can use to do so, one at a time.
And then we just keep going. This might get monotonous (it’s a challenge question), but it’s really just the same procedure over and over again until the desired result.
That wasn’t so bad now, was it?