According to SparkNotes, soda is a food item. Are they wrong or am I too nit-picky?

<p>Here a grid-in math problem in one of their SAT prep book practice tests:</p>

<p>"The buffet at a lunch contains 35 sandwiches, 35 sodas, and 50 cookies. If the people at the lunch eat 22 sandwiches, drink 28 sodas, and eat 38 cookies, then what fraction of the total number of food items remain after the lunch is finished?"</p>

<p>Upon reading this, I started adding the items from the beginning and end of the lunch so I could solve the problem. Then, I noticed that it said "food items" at the end. I was thinking in my head, "Aha! SparkNotes is trying to trick me. They can't fool me!" and I completely disregarded the sodas, since sodas are drink items and not food items.</p>

<p>I did the problem and calculated the remaining fraction of FOOD ITEMS (soda not included), but the SparkNotes answer was wrong and it included the change in the sodas in the fraction answer. </p>

<p>This type of stuff really annoys me because I'm almost positive I'm right and I feel like SparkNotes is using one of those "SAT traps" as they call them. </p>

<p>Was I reading too far into the problem? Is this type of thing on the real SAT, or is it just an error from SparkNotes?</p>

<p>First, soda, something that you drink, is a food item. Check the dictionary.</p>

<p>Second, for those of you new to standardized testing, over-thinking terms and finding nits in SAT questions is all too common. As you practice keep a list of those situations where you over-thought a question and found a problem where none (according to BB) existed. When a difference matters BB SAT questions makes it very clear -- as for example by asking for "odd" integer or "negative" number or "smaller" circle, etc. So read questions with care, but don't add distinctions where none are intended.</p>

<p>This question is a good example of poor wording or ambiguous meaning that never occurs in an actual SAT problem, so you shouldn't worry about being "trapped" like this. Whether soda is a food item or not is unclear (If potability is the qualifying characteristic, then is water food?), and certainly an SAT math problem would not be concerned with your knowledge of nutrition.</p>

<p>A more likely "word meaning trap" would be in a question such as: How many positive integers are less than 5? A "trap" answer would be: 5. Getting the correct answer requires that you know what positive means, but there is no ambiguity in math with words like that.</p>

<p>First of all, the real SAT is completely different for the Sparknotes version, just so you know. The Sparknotes reading is much easier and its math is slightly harder. SO don't take the sparknotes tests and think you are golden if you did well, or all hope is lost if you didn't.<br>
But moving on.
That being said, if they gave you the number of sodas, unless specifically stated, it counts. On a question with a picture for example, know that you maybe wrong if you didn't use all numbers/variables in the picture to answer your question. The only problems that this rule doesn't apply to statistic problems: The ones in which they give you a graph(not a coordinate graph) or a chart and ask you to pick out data.</p>

<p>Whoa, whoa, whoa. Five positive integers less than five? </p>

<p>/counts on fingers</p>

<p>/pushes glasses up nose, fidgets with pocket protector</p>

<p>I see a flaw in your calculations.</p>

<p>^5 is the trap (and an incorrect answer) for those who are unclear on the math meaning of positive.</p>

<p>^^ I would say that MOST sat problems require all of the information given. But not all. Occasionally you get some extra info. In the whole blue book, there may be only 3 or 4 like that, but it does happen...</p>