[redirected] 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!


  • Chris Lele

    Chris Lele is the Principal Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh. Chris graduated from UCLA with a BA in Psychology and has 20 years of experience in the test prep industry. He's been quoted as a subject expert in many publications, including US News, GMAC, and Business Because. In his time at Magoosh, Chris has taught countless students how to tackle the GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT, MCAT (CARS), and LSAT exams with confidence. Some of his students have even gone on to get near-perfect scores. You can find Chris on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook!

By the way, Magoosh can help you study for both the SAT and ACT exams. Click here to learn more!

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