Question of the Day: June 5

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, dco 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 C.  The sentence has three verbs that are underlined and they all need to be in the same tense.  “Created” and “incorporated” are in the past tense; so, “alternating” needs to be consistent or parallel with them.  It is what is wrong with the current sentence.  Of course, you don’t have to fix it with this question format.  You just need to identify the error.  If you had to fix it, you’d simply change it to “alternated.”

Let’s see what we can do to demystify the ACT. (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 B.  There are some important things you can learn about the ACT from this question.  First, don’t bother to review any science knowledge because you couldn’t possibly predict what would be on the test plus they tell you the scientific information you’ll need right in the question.  Second,  the questions on the ACT Science Test are answered by reading data in the forms of charts, graphs, tables, etc.

This question asks you to find  “progressive increase in summed diameter.”  You may not even know what that means but if you look at the figure they reference in the question (Figure 2), you’ll see “summed diameter” in the Key.   It tells you the width of the bars is the “summed diameter.”   Looking at the figure, you see horseweed stays the same and then disappears and aster increases and then decreases.  Broomsedge has bars that consistently get wider which makes it the right answer.

What does the question tell us about the test?  Practice reading charts and graphs and don’t worry about reviewing science materials.  Get yourself some practice ACT tests and do the questions so that you can see the variety of charts and graphs that show up on the test.  Work on your speed.  A major challenge of the test is many students run out of time.  One thing you can do is put off the most time-consuming science passage until last.  There is one passage I call the “disputing scientists:” two conflicting views of the same scientific principle will be presented by the passage.  The questions will ask you to compare and contrast their points of view.  Skip this passage when you first see it and do it last because those kinds of questions take a lot of time.  (It could be any of the seven passages from the first one to the last one; so, be watchful and save it for last.)

Enjoy your day.

The 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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