SAT Question of the Day (plus ACT): Mar. 12, 2014

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. (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 A.  Use the topic of the sentence to predict an answer before looking at the answers so that the wrong answers don’t confuse or distract you.  Ask yourself, “What does the sentence tell us about the subject (Louis)?”  It tells us he inspired fear; so, I predicted “fearsome.”  None of the other words besides “redoubtable” come anywhere near meaning “fearsome.”  How many of the wrong answers could you eliminate?  If you could only eliminate 1, you should guess at the rest.

Only 31% of students are getting this one right this morning.  That means it would be either the last or next to last Sentence Completion question due to the arrangement of questions from easy to hard.  Have you picked a target score?  Do you even need to answer this question?  Probably not.  Do you know you can skip 10% of the questions and miss 10% of the questions you do and still get a good score?  About a 650 or a top 10% score!  This isn’t like school.  Don’t stress out trying to get to all the questions.  You can skip more questions than you think (unless you are trying to go to a highly selective school).

I wonder if the ACT folks have something new for us this morning.

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 D.  Answers A, B, and C add to the story; so, throw them out, pick D and move on.  Answer C is a good distractor (wrong answer) because it is a “half-truth.”  It applies to trials by battle but not the other answers.  The question asks “all assume” and that is why C is wrong.

A common mistake students make when taking the reading test is trying to justify keeping answers.  That takes too much time and talks students into wrong answers.  You need to do just the opposite: justify throwing out answers.  That is much quicker.  Begin by asking yourself, “Does this answer add to the story?”  If so, it cannot be the best answer.  It is that simple.  For some questions, you may find a couple of answers that don’t add and then you have to use the next step of the “Wizard’s Checklist” to choose the better one.  I’ll provide more information about my checklist in a future blog.

Tell a couple of people today what you like about them.  Compliment them.  It will make you all feel good.

Bob Alexander, the “SAT and 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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