Mar 7 ACT & SAT Question of the Day (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 B.  The SAT staff must be suffering from some of the cold weather that is blowing across the country this morning.  Their explanation is only half the story!

Yes, there is a subject/verb issue that they address but there’s more that needs to be fixed.  The problem is that in the original sentence awareness needs a preposition to go with it and “awareness for” is not right.  (The “for” is from the parallel phrase “and appreciation for.”  The appropriate preposition is “of.”   Children have an appreciation “of” the sounds.  The right answer fixes that issue by making the parallel structure.  The fix makes it the “children’s awareness of and appreciation for the sounds.”

Subject/verb agreement is a common mistake that pops up on the test and you need an awareness of the other mistakes you will encounter.  Be sure to get you hands on a list of the grammar errors that are popular with the SAT and ACT folks.  You will definitely see that “parallel structures” is there.  (Check out where you’ll find lots of very helpful practice!)  You will also find a list of errors on my Demystifying the SAT and ACT  DVD #9 and in my online course.

Let’s take a look at the ACT question. (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.)-

I’m so happy that the ACT folks finally offered us a new question; at least I haven’t seen this one since I started doing this blog last November!

The answer is F.  Their explanation does a fine job of explaining the trig and it saves me the time of inserting all those radicals, exponents, and fractions in my own explanation that would say the same thing.  So you should read their explanation.  Let me explain the long-term value of this question.  That is, let’s use it to raise you ACT score.  That’s why you read my blog.

The SAT never has any questions that require trigonometry skills.  You can sometimes find it helpful but you can always use geometry skills to answer their questions.

On the other hand, the ACT always has four trig questions and they are very predictable.  Two of them will require you to do something fairly straight forward, usually use basic trig functions like sine, cosine or one of their cousins (cotangent, etc.).  One of the questions will require some mid-level trig knowledge like the basic trig identity which is popular; this question is a good example.  The fourth question will be more challenging.  Be prepared to do a question about an advanced trig topic.  The unit circle and sine waves are two of the most popular ones.

This is information is an example of why I love doing what I do.  I really enjoy demystifying the ACT and SAT for students.  That’s why all my publications include that word in the title.  Since the tests are standardized, I can predict what to expect on test day which removes the mystery from the tests and reduces the nervousness of many students.  I strive to raise your confidence by helping you know what to expect.  For example, look how predictable ACT math is.  You now know there will be 4 trig questions and what difficulty levels and topics to expect.  I hope it helps you as much as the amount of joy it brings to me to share this information with you.

Have a wonderful 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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