Looking for a little help prepping for the SAT Math section?

In this video, Magoosh’s SAT expert Chris explains the mathematical concepts of median and mode, and goes over several SAT practice questions to help you get comfortable working with medians and modes on your own.

Watch the embedded video below, or scroll down for a full video transcript. 🙂

## What Will I See in the “SAT Math Section: Median and Mode | SAT Practice Questions” Video?

In this 5-minute video, Chris will cover both definitions, highlighting their similarities and differences, and then take you, step-by-step, through a few practice questions, explaining how you can correctly identify medians and modes on the test!

If you liked this video, hit that *Like* button–or better yet, send it to a friend! Let’s all go to college 🎓🙌

## “SAT Math Section: Median and Mode | SAT Practice Questions” Full Transcript

Hi, this is Chris.SAT expert at Magoosh.

And I’ve had over 15 years experience helping students ace the test.

And today I’m gonna talk about median and mode.

Now, you’ll be able to recognize this on the math section, when of course you see something that says median or mode.

But it’s not always that obvious.

Sometimes you might wonder, huh, are they asking me average, the mean, or the median?

So with median, you always have to remember that it is the middle most number, not necessarily the average of all the numbers.

And with mode, it’s the number that shows up the most times.

Though, they won’t always use the word mode.

For a closer look, let’s dive into a few problems.

So let’s dive into the difference between, median, and mode starting with these numbers {3, 3, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9}.

So what does the median actually mean?

Well, the median is the middle number of the set.

And here that middle number, and notice we have seven numbers, and we have one, two, three, and on this side we have one, two three.

The median is that middle number which is 4.

And that’s all you’re doing with the median is looking for the middle number.

The mode, on the other hand, is the number that appears the most.

In this case, 3, 3, and 3, that is the only number there that appears more than once.

And so that is our mode.

So again, the median, the middle number is 4 and the mode, the number that appears the most, is 3.

So what do we need to know for the test?

Well, the mode is not likely to really show up on the test.

They don’t test this too often.

What they do test though is the median.

And they try to, I don’t wanna say they try to trick you, but they won’t give you something that straightforward as above.

They’re gonna make it a little bit more complicated.

Maybe like this but maybe even more complicated.

When I say like this I’m talking about these four numbers down here.

Why is that more complicated?

Well, notice there is no middle number because there’s an even number of numbers there.

There’s four numbers.

So there’s no middle number, you just have 7 and 10 on the inside.

So what you do, do you pick the 7 or do you pick the 10?

Well I’m happy you ask because you pick neither.

What you wanna do is you wanna find the average of 7 and 10.

And to find the average of those numbers, you add the two numbers together and then you divide by two.

So this is 7+10/2 = 8.5.

And so therefore, we know that the median is 8.5 to those four numbers.

Now this is a little bit confusing because I just said average or mean.

And then I found the mean to arrive at the median.

And I think that’s one reason why many people confuse the two, median and mean.

But they are different.

So let’s hash it out here and see those differences.

Mean is the average of a set of numbers, the average.

So it’s basically whenever you’re taking an average, just think mean equals average.

Median, on the other hand, and sometimes, by the way, these can be very similar.

They can end up being the same number, but they are different concepts.

The median is simply the number that is in the middle.

And again, if you have an even number of numbers, then you have to find the average of those numbers.

But again, don’t confuse those two concepts.

Now what is a good way to remember median and mean, and not to confuse them, especially in the moment of the test where you’re stressing out?

Well, let’s think of the median on the highway.

What does it do?

Separates the two lanes on either side of the highway.

So think of the median as in the middle of the highway, in the middle of the numbers.

Another way to think about it, kind of a funky, creative way, is the words look very similar.

I think that’s why a lot of people mix them up.

Notice the letters mean are contained in median.

But median has this big DI here.

[LAUGH] I made it big, but it’s not usually big.

But there it is, big DI in the middle to show you it’s the middle.

It’s all about that middle part, not necessarily the the average the way that mean is.

And so those are two good ways to keep those concepts separated.

So let’s try a couple of practice problems here.

What is the median of the following set?

What is it asking?

What is the middle number?

And that middle number is, well, these are arranged from highest or from lowest, that is, to highest.

And so we just look for the middle number which is 117.50.

So not a hard question but at least if you didn’t know what a median was before this video started, now you do and you got the question right.

But let’s try a harder one.

The mean of the medium of set A and the medium of set B is what?

So I’ll look at set A.

And I don’t wanna add them up and divide by 5 cuz that would give me the what, the mean.

And that’s why this is such a tricky problem.

It says the mean of the median of set A.

So we look for the median of set A, the middle number.

That is 7.

Then we look for the median of set B, the middle number, and so we have 10 and 12 there.

And what do we do again?

We find the average of those two numbers.

So 10 plus 12 is 22 divided by 2 is 11.

So the median for set A is 7.

The median for set B is 11.

You add those up, 7 plus 11 divided by 2.

That’s 18 divided by 2 is 9, and that gives us answer choice B.

So there you have it.

We talked about median, which is the middle number.

We talked about mode, which isn’t likely show up on the test, which is the number that shows up most in a set.

And we talked about the difference between median and mean and how not to confuse them, and there you have it.

That is median and mode the way they would show up on the SAT.

Now if you want more tips and strategies, click on some of the videos to my left.

And if you want even more, check us out at sat.Magoosh.com and you can click on the link in the description below.

## Want More SAT Study Tips?

Take a look at some of our other useful study tips to help you prepare for the SAT Math section:

Happy studying! 🙂

### More from Magoosh

##### About Molly Kiefer

Molly completed her undergraduate degree in Philosophy at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. She has been tutoring the SAT, GRE, and LSAT since 2014, and loves supporting her students as they work towards their academic goals. When she’s not tutoring or blogging, Molly takes long walks, makes art, and studies ethics. Molly currently lives in Northern California with her cat, who is more popular on Instagram than she is.

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