SAT Mathematics : Understanding Absolute Values

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Mathematics

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Example Questions

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Example Question #11 : Understanding Absolute Values

What is the sum of the two solutions to the equation ?

Possible Answers:

-5

-3

-1

2

Correct answer:

-3

Explanation:

To solve an equation with an absolute value, recognize that there are two things that would make an absolute value equal 5: the inside of the absolute value could equal 5, or it could equal -5. So your job is to solve for both possibilities:

Possibility 1:

You can then subtract 3 from both sides to get:

And divide both sides by 2 to finish:

Possibility 2: 

Subtract 3 from both sides to get:

Divide both sides by 2:

Your two solutions are 1 and -4. Since the question wants the sum of the two answers, you can add them together to get your answer, -3.

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