Among the many excitements associated with having teen-age children, perhaps the biggest is the vast world of activities that is the College Planning Process.  The SAT tests are big players in this, there are prep classes, books, test-taking strategies . . . it can be all-consuming, if you let it. With the permeation of the Internet into most aspects of life, it is not surprising that the College Board, creators and administrators of the SATs are, shall we say, down with it and Internet-savvy. One result of this is that I receive my daily “Official SAT Question of the Day” email — not that I am preparing for the SAT, but it’s a nice brain teaser every morning.  Most of them are English questions, and almost all of them I get right.  I’m very good at ferretting out subject/verb non-agreement, awkward transitions, incomplete sentences, etc.  The math questions, not so much.  A lot of those I just ignore, but some catch my eye, and even have the appearance of solvability.  Today, for example,

The Official SAT Question of the Day™
  Thursday, February 21
Read the following SAT test question, then click on a button to select your answer. (This would work if you were looking at the original email.  You are not.)

To make an orange dye, 3 parts of red dye are mixed with 2 parts of yellow dye. To make a green dye, 2 parts of blue dye are mixed with 1 part of yellow dye. If equal amounts of green and orange are mixed, what is the proportion of yellow dye in the new mixture?

A. 3/16
B. 1/4
C. 11/30
D. 3/8
E. 7/12

I really should be able to get this, right?  Not that I’m so big about the whole measuring dye thing, my color notebook is little scraps of paper that say things like, “2t. gold in water, stir, then 2 t. brown in water, stir.”

So I duly figured out the proportions of each mixture, converted to a common denominator, added the fractions together . . . and it wasn’t one of the choices. I looked at the fractions again, considered what the answer should be, roughly, and clicked on what made the most sense.  Bingo!  The College Board classifies this question as hard.  I feel good.

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