ACT & SAT Question of the Day: Oct. 25, 2013

If you are reading this in an email you received from me, do not click the link to below. Use the link to my website that is farther down on the email. If you are seeing this in my blog, do the SAT Question of the Day by clicking on this link: (This link takes you to today’s question. If you use my archive, you will see the question related to my SAT explanation for that date.)

The answer is D.  I’m shocked by how few students are getting this question correct (45%).  This issue of the possible lengths of the sides of a triangle comes up on the test fairly often.  In fact, I started calling the geometry rule that you use to answer the question the “Wizard’s Theorem” because it doesn’t have a name.  Check it out on Video #7 or page 45 of Demystifying the SAT & ACT.  It is also in the triangle section of my website.  It simply says the third side of a triangle has to be shorter than the sum of the other two sides and greater than their difference.  So it has two be shorter than 2 + 12 = 14 and greater than 12 – 2 = 10.  Be sure you remember the Wizard’s Theorem on test day because it is not on the math “cheat sheet” at the beginning of each math section.

Let’s see what the ACT folks have for us today.

ACT Question of the Day: Use your “back” button to return to my website after reading the ACT Question of the Day.

The answer is J.  The test writer’s explanation is a pretty standard “math teacher” way to do this question and it’s worth looking at it.  However, I found it easier to do by just keeping in mind what is happening when you factor quadratic equations.  The constant for this equation is 6 – 6 = 0.  That means that one solution of the equation has to be 0 because the only way to get 0 when you multiply is when one of the numbers is 0.  Then the coefficient for x has to be the sum of the two factors.  Because one must be 0 the other has to be -7.  That means the solutions for the equation are 0 and +7.  The lesser of the two numbers is 0.  All done.

The ACT is in the morning; so, spend your evening wisely.  Stay home.  After dinner, don’t do any more test prep!  Relax.  Watch a movie, read a book, listen to some music.  Do not communicate with the outside world: no phone, no texting, no online chatting, no smoke signals!  Nobody is going to contact you and tell you something that will raise your score.  However, they could have news that might distress you and distract you well into the next day.  You want to avoid that.  Be sure to read my recent blog about what to eat for breakfast tomorrow morning.  The wrong food can definitely affect your score negatively.  The right food will do just the opposite.

Good luck.

The SAT & ACT Wizard



About Bob Alexander

Bob has been a professional educator starting with teaching biology, becoming a school administrator, and then working as an education lobbyist in Washington, DC. He got his start in national testing by becoming a consulting test writer, later joining Kaplan as a director, and finally starting his own business in 1995. He has written numerous books, consulted for school districts and colleges, developed his website and been featured on a DVD set. He offers SAT and ACT prep classes and tutors individuals and small groups of students in central Florida.
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