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Chris Lele

SAT Math Friday – Coordinate Plane Challenge

Every now and then, the SAT gets really diabolical and throws a coordinate geometry question without the coordinate plane. To make matters worse, the question is usually difficult to begin with—even if you had the plane.

The key is to translate the information by drawing out a mini-coordinate plane. Remember, this is a timed test, so it doesn’t have to be anything fancy (don’t worry, the test isn’t going to require you to carefully graph out parabolas—the way your math teacher does).  As long as your graph can help you better visualize the problem, you are half way to getting the problem right.

Of course, the other half is always a bit tricky. Case in point—this week’s challenge question.

See if you can crack it in less than two minutes! (For the answer and explanation, check out the video solution).


1.The center of Circle Q is the origin of a coordinate plane. If the point (-8, 15) is on the circle, what is the area of an isosceles right triangle with all three of its vertices on the circle?

(A)  17

(B)  289π

(C)  144

(D) 289/2

(E) 289


As always, if you have a comment or question, leave it for me below!

About Chris Lele

Chris Lele is the GRE and SAT Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh Online Test Prep. In his time at Magoosh, he has inspired countless students across the globe, turning what is otherwise a daunting experience into an opportunity for learning, growth, and fun. Some of his students have even gone on to get near perfect scores. Chris is also very popular on the internet. His GRE channel on YouTube has over 8 million views.

You can read Chris's awesome blog posts on the Magoosh GRE blog and High School blog!

You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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