SAT Question of the Day (ACT too!): Sept. 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 E.  During Video #4, I talk about a key principle for math: The world of math is a world of patterns.  In fact, math is sometimes referred to as the “pattern science.”  Because that is true, you can use a great strategy when the test writer gives you a question that doesn’t contain numbers.  You just make stuff up!  I call it a number of things including, “change the algebra to arithmetic.”  You simply substitute numbers for the variable but be sure you follow the rules that describe the variable.

In this question, they tell you p is an odd integer.  So, pick one.  I picked 3.  Now I don’t have p anymore; I have 3.  Everywhere I see a p in the question and in the answers I substitute 3.  When I do so, finding the answer is easy because A is 1, B is 9, C is 7, D is 1 and E is 6.  The correct answer is E.  Doing that arithmetic is a lot quicker than the algebra. I am also less apt to make a mistake because real numbers (3) are concrete rather than abstract like p.  That is why I also call this strategy “change the abstract to the concrete.”

Once you start using this strategy, you’ll be amazed at how many questions  on the test actually can be answered by using it.  It will definitely raise your score.

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.

Does anybody have an ax?  I’m ready to cut the woods down because they keep asking this question!  Well, let’s see what we can learn about the ACT from this test anyway.

The answer is H.  First, review your science analytical skills rather than your science knowledge.  Reading graphs and charts is going to be critical to your success and you’ll never predict what knowledge is going to be required.  Second, they tell you all the science you need anyway.

The best thing you can do to prepare for the science test is get your hands on some old ACT tests.  The Real ACT Prep Guide is the best text because it is the only source of actual ACT tests.  The other books are fake tests.  I would want to practice with the real thing.  (No, I didn’t help write it and I don’t make any money when it is sold.  I just want you working with real, not fake,, tests.)

You also need to work on your speed.  Many students tell me it is the hardest part of the science test–finishing on time.  So, there’s a wizardly strategy you can use.  Do the passages in a different order than the one in the test booklet which is random.  The test writers have three different passage types which I call: read the data, experiments, and disagreeing scientists.  There are 3 “read the data” passages and they are the easiest and fastest to do.  You will recognize them easily because they start with a short paragraph explaining the science and  then give you some charts or graphs.  Do them first.

Second, do the 3 “experiments” passages.  They are quick to recognize because the passage will have 2-4 headers that say “Experiment #1, Experiment #2, etc.”  They also may call them “Study” rather than “Experiment.”  Do them after you’ve done the “read the data” passages.

Last do the “disagreeing scientists.”  There will only be 1 of them and it will take more time than the first two types.

This strategy will assure you get more questions done if you have trouble finishing on time.  Finally, don’t forget to randomly answer all the questions you don’t have time to get to before the time is up.  There’s no penalty for guessing and you’ll probably get lucky and answer some of them right.

Learn the difference between “lay” (put something down” and “lie” (recline) today!  Practice using them properly.  For example, “My cell phone is lying on the table.”  But “I laid it there.”

Enjoy your day.  You’ve started it well!

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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