Apr 19 SAT Question of the Day & ACT QotD

If you are reading this in an email you received from me, do not click the link to sat.collegeboard.org 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:

http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-question-of-the-day?src=R&questionId=20130419 (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.  The SAT staff did a nice job of explaining all the algebra and you can just follow their explanation.  It is one of the best ones they’ve done.  It will save me typing time.

This relatively simple algebra question is causing trouble for lots of students.  Only 40% are getting it right.  Let’s use the question to practice my strategy of what to do with a math question when you get stuck.  When you get jammed up by a math question, always ask yourself: “What did they tell me and what do I know because they told me that?”  Often that just means to “restate” (Pillar II) the English as algebra.  In this case, they told you to solve for xy and gave you some algebraic information.  “Is” means “equals” and “more than” means “plus” or add two values.  Tie all that together by restating the English as an algebra equation: x+ 2x = y + 2y + 5.

My “Pillars of Test-Taking Wiz-dom” are invaluable.  You need to learn them from my books, DVDs, or website course.  They are the collective wisdom of excellent test takers and serve as the foundation for becoming a better test taker.  Practice using them and you’ll find your score going up.

Let’s take a look at how the Pillars can help us with the ACT question.

http://www.act.org/qotd/ (The ACT staff does not put a date on their questions so if you click on an archived blog, you’ll get today’s question and the old explanation. Sorry. The SAT staff has dated their questions; so, the archive is helpful. The ACT folks simply don’t do that.)

The answer is J.  The rest of the paragraph describes the unregulated environment that allowed the radio broadcasters to do what they wished.  I simply “restated” (Pillar II) what they told me.  “Chaos” and “out of control” were their words in the passage to understand that I needed a topic sentence that introduced that information: the federal government did not control the radio broadcasters.  Only the conjunction “but,” Answer J, did that.  “Since” is a reference to “time” and doesn’t make sense because the passage isn’t about one thing happening and then the other thing following chronologically.  “Thus” would mean a “cause and effect” relationship and that doesn’t make sense either.  “But” is a conjunction that logically restates the topic sentence such that it now introduces that information in the paragraph.

I hope you relish your last day of the week.  (Yes, “relish” is a verb and is related to what you may put on your hot dog!  It means “to enjoy” as you do after you put “relish” on your hot dog.  For example, (as promised) my fishing report is that I relished the day because the fish were cooperating yesterday.)

Have a nice weekend and I hope you find a few moments to follow my blog.  You never know when one of my explanations is going to make a difference in your score.


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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