ACT & SAT Question of the Day: Apr. 20, 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.)

How appropriate–the test writers are sending us on an Easter Egg Hunt for answers that fit in the blank!  Do you think they did that on purpose?  Not a chance.

The answer is A.  Sentence Completions are always topic sentences for paragraphs.  What supportive details would you expect to see following this sentence?  The statement indicates that Ms. Fergusson is critical of the artist’s picture of the ancient mammal because it is “unsupported” by “evidence.”  That would lead us to predict details in the paragraph that would indicate that there wasn’t even a “little bit” or “moderate amount” of evidence which would result in the image being “a wild guess.”

As always, we now look for synonyms for our predictions.  Because there  are two blanks, always start with the prediction you think is better and eliminate as many answers as possible.  If you start with “wild guess,”  you eliminate all of the answers but A without even looking at the words for the first blank!  None of the other second words among the answers even comes close to meaning a “guess.”  Then check answer A to make sure your guess for the first blank fits — and it does.  Had you started with the first blank, only Answers A and B mean “a little bit” or “moderate amount.”  Then when you check out the second words for those two answers, it is easy to eliminate Answer B.

Always start with one blank at a time when you do Sentence Completion questions with two blanks.  It will save you a substantial (not a modicum!) amount of time.

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.

The answer is H.  Solving the equation we get x2 = 15.  Therefore x is the square root of 15.  There are both positive and negative square roots of a number.  That leaves us with two possible answers, both positive and negative √15.

Question #12 on page 32 in my student manual Demystifying the SAT & ACT is a good question to use to review this issue in detail.  There’s a complete explanation you can read on my free website.  In short, you need to remember that the solutions to equations that are the square root of variables will always have 2 possible answers, both a positive and a negative one.  However, for √x, radical x, there is only a positive root.

You should check out all the Sample Questions in Demystifying the SAT & ACT and the explanations.  I wrote them to highlight important characteristics of the tests and things that you should be alert for.  Each question teaches something that many students will miss even when they know the math!  Often it is something simple that they have forgotten.  Doing my Sample Questions will be well worth your time.

QotD Words of “Wiz-dom”:

There are only two weeks left before the SAT test.  You should open your planner today and create your prep schedule for the SAT test date.  Then stick to it.  May 3 will be here sooner than you can imagine!  Even if you aren’t taking the SAT and/or ACT until June, it is still a good idea to lay out your plan.  Remember the old adage: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

Enjoy your day.

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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