On every SAT Writing and Language Test, one or two passages will be accompanied by an information graph or chart associated with the passage. Here is how you to tackle these tricky questions.
April 25, 2020
Unlike grammar questions, which require you to both recall and apply rules, answers to infographic questions are always in front of you.
The infographics questions on the SAT Writing and Language Test are sort of like a unique iPhone game. The first few times you “play” it, you have no idea what’s going on, it seems impossible, and you’re tempted to quit. Then you figure out the tricks, get the hang of the rules, and it becomes much easier.
The following checklist will help you with both the reading and writing infographic questions:
- Go straight to the questions before trying to read or interpret the graph. This first step is so important. On any given SAT infographic question, you will use/need maybe 10% of the information printed in the graph. By reading the questions first, you know how to focus your time.
- After reading a question, read all the answer choices before doing anything else. Here’s the thing about this question type - every single question is looking for a very specific answer. You want to use the answer choices to help figure out what you’re looking for on the infographic.
- Do not pick the right answers - eliminate the three wrong answer choices instead! Trying to “come up with the answer on your own” is a really, really big waste of time. It’s just not worth it. Remember: You only have four possible answer choices available to you. Three of them are wrong - it’s easier to eliminate three silly wrong facts.
- Use the relevant information from the graphs to eliminate answers one by one. That’s all there is to do.
It doesn’t matter whether the passage has to do with geology, geography, astrophysics, or some combination of the three. These tips apply every time.
There are essentially two types of infographic questions::
1. Detailed Infographic Questions
Detailed infographic questions ask you about specific aspects of a graphic. These are direct questions that test whether you can read the information that’s presented. They’re the most straightforward infographics questions.
On these types of questions, the first step is to carefully read the graph. Make sure you understand what it’s showing and how the information is being displayed. Then, determine what the question is asking. These questions are fairly basic, so you’re most likely to make a mistake by either misinterpreting the graph or the question. Finally, refer back to the graph to locate the answer. The information on the graph will directly support your answer choice.
X - ray spectroscopy is a way of analyzing a mineral composition. When an electron beam is directed onto a mineral, each element in the mineral emits characteristic X-rays having a narrow range of energies. The intensity of all X-rays emitted by the elements is measured. The greater the maximum intensity of the X-rays emitted by an element, the greater the relative concentration of the element in the mineral. Therefore, both minerals have a low concentration of both the Si and O.
Figures 1 and 2 show X-ray spectroscopy results for Mineral 1 and Mineral 2, respectively, under identical conditions. Energy is given in kiloelectron volts (keV); intensity is given in counts per second (sec).
Which choice offers an accurate interpretation of data presented in the chart?
A. NO CHANGE
B. both minerals have a high concentration of both the Si and O.
C. both minerals have a high concentration of both the Ca and Mn
D. both minerals have a low concentration of both the Mg and AI
Step 1. Read the question. That is pretty evident
Step 2. Look at the answers. All the answers have to do with two-letter abbreviated element names. Now you know what you need.
Step 3. You’ll want to use “anything having to do with X-ray intensity,” which means there’s a need to focus on BOTH FIGURES – this is a comparison problem, so the answer must be the four elements with either the highest or lowest concentration in both figures.
- Ca is around 400 in Figure 1 and around 75 in Figure 2.
- Fe looks like about 25 in Figure 1, and about 450 in Figure 2
- Si is about 900 in Figure 1, about 650 in Figure 2
- O is about 900 in both Figure 1 and 2
- Cr is about 100 in Figure 1, and about 100 in Figure 2.
B is the right answer.
Based on the results of Study 1, if the distance from the centre of a 100 m x 100 m plot were 75 m from the nearest clearing, the expected average change in the AGTB at the plot over 17 yr would be closest to which of the following
A. - 1.1 t/yr
B. - 2.6 t/yr
C. + 1.1 t/yr
D. + 2.6 t/yr
Solution: You can simply draw a line connecting the dots in the scatterplot, and then, you approximate the point at 75 m from the centre of the plot to the nearest clearing. See diagram below:
Using this method, you can approximate the average change in AGTB at -2.8. This is closest to answer B, so that is the correct answer.
Now, some students may say that they cannot draw to save their life. However, you are not expected to paint like Picasso or paint the Sistine Chapel. Therefore, try to mark on the graph you are given and then use the process of elimination.
Which choice is best supported by the data in the first figure?
A. The number of students using public transportation is greater than the number of retirees using public transportation.
B. The number of employed people using public transportation and the number of unemployed people using public transportation is roughly the same.
C. People employed outside their home are less likely to use public transportation that are homemakers.
D. Unemployed people use public transportation less often than do people employed outside the home.
Solution: As always, we read the questions first and try to eliminate each answer choice first. For A, we refer to Figure 1 and see that 10.7% of passengers are students and only 6.7% are retirees. The figure supports this answer choice and the correct answer is A.
Let’s now eliminate all the answer choices.
- Answer choice B - employed people are 72%, and unemployed people are only 6.4% of passengers
- Answer choice C - homemakers are only 2% of passengers and those employed outside the home are 72%
- Answer choice D - no mention of how often various groups use public transportation; figure graphs the occupations of the passengers, but it says nothing about the frequency with which they use public transportation
2. Big Picture Infographics Questions
These are the harder of the two infographics question types because they ask you to relate information from the graph to the passage. In these questions, more than one answer choice may be accurate based on the graph, but only one will relate to the part of the passage in question. You have to decide if the data supports information in the passage.
Always refer to the passage to ensure that both the data and the passage reflect the correct answer choice.
As the maps show, “soda” is commonly heard in the middle and western portions of the United States; “pop” is frequently used in many southern states; and “coke” is predominant in the northeastern and southwest regions but used elsewhere as well. 
The writer wants the information in the passage to correspond as closely as possible with the information in the map. Given the goal and assuming that the rest of the previous sentence would remain unchanged, in which sequence should the three terms for soft drinks be discussed?
A. NO CHANGE
B. “pop,” ”soda,” “coke”
C. “pop,” “coke, ”soda,”
D. ”soda,” “pop,” “coke”
Solution: Based on the map,
- “pop” (dark shaded color”) is used in the middle and western portions of the U.S.
- “coke” (diagonal lines in that area) is used in the south
- “soda” (lightly shaded area) is used in the northeastern and southwestern U.S.
The order should be middle and western U.S. first, south next, and then northeastern and southwestern U.S. Therefore, the answer is “pop,” “coke,” “soda” or answer C.
The most common forms of professional development provided to employees includes coaching, mentoring, technical assistance, and workshops. Some employers utilize several
approaches simultaneously, developing a framework that suits the particular needs of their employees. Around the same time, the figure illustrates a simple yet comprehensive professional-development model created for special education personnel. As the figure suggests, receiving coaching and consultation is the overarching framework, while the opportunity to belong to professional networks and participate in activities such as foundation and skill-building workshops is relatively unimportant.
A. NO CHANGE
B. participation in foundation and skill-building workshops is the overarching framework within which staff receive coaching and consultation as well as the opportunity to belong to a professional network.
C. membership in a professional network is the overarching framework within which staff receive coaching and consultation as well as the opportunity to attend foundation and skill-building workshops.
D. receiving coaching and consultation is the overarching framework within which staff have the opportunity to belong to a professional network as well as attend foundation and skill-building workshops.
Solution: Choice C is the best answer. Since “professional networks” is the largest circle in the illustration, it is ,therefore, the overarching framework “within which staff receive coaching and consultation as well as the opportunity to attend foundation and skill-building workshops.”
Choices A, B, and D are incorrect because as shown in the illustration, “coaching and consultation” and “foundation and skill building workshops” occupy smaller circles within the professional development framework, and thus cannot be the overarching framework.
Court reporters for years have been the record keepers of the court, taking intense notes during hearings, depositions, and other legal proceedings. Despite the increasing use of digital recording technologies, court reporters still play a vital role in courtrooms.  Although machines can easily make digital audio recordings of court events, they lack the nuance of human court reporters in providing a precise record At point , the writer is considering adding the following graph.
Should the writer make this addition here?
A. Yes, because it supports the claim that court reporting is an important part of a trial.
B. Yes, because it offers a relevant counterpoint to the argument that the use of digital recorders is on the rise.
C. No, because it presents information that is not directly related to the paragraph’s discussion of the role of court reporters.
D. No, because it does not provide information about the pay scale for more experienced court reporters.
Solution: Choice C is the best answer. The graph should not be added because it doesn’t support or relate to the information in the paragraph. The paragraph describes what a court reporter does. The graph provides information that compares the median salary of court reporters to that of other jobs.
Choices A and B are incorrect because the graph should not be added. Choice D is incorrect because it doesn’t matter that there is no information provided in the graph about the pay scale for “more experienced” court reporters. The paragraph doesn’t deal with the subject of pay at all, so therefore the graph doesn’t support the paragraph.