ACT & SAT Question of the Day: Feb. 25, 2014

If you are reading this in an email you received from me, do not click the link to sat.collegeboard.org below. Use the link to my website that is farther down on the email.

http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-question-of-the-day?questionId=20140225&oq=1 (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.  Always begin a Sentence Completion question by determining the topic of the sentence.  What does the sentence tell us about the subject of the sentence, Paul Bowles.  We can see that he composed music and he was a writer and his writing “received the most acclaim.”  So, his writing was the more important of the two in terms of making him famous.  Now that we have figured out the topic, let’s predict a word or phrase for the blank before looking at the answers.  I came up with “diminished by” and “made less prominent by” his writing.  Now let’s find an answer that is consistent with the prediction.  That’s easy:  “overshadowed by” makes the most sense.

If you weren’t careful, you may have picked Answer B, “paramount to,” which means just the opposite by saying his composing was more important than his writing.  The test writers love to do this to you.  That is, they love to put in distractors (wrong answers) that mean the opposite of the right answer.  So be cautious and make sure you aren’t picking a word that is the opposite of the what you predicted.

I wonder what the ACT folks have up their sleeves this morning!

The answer is F.  You can make this question pretty easy by systematically approaching it.  The test writers give you three criteria for where the organism thrives.  One of them is a “neutral pH” and they tell you in the introductory paragraph that a “pH of 7 is neutral.”  Look in the table for a pH of 7 and you see it at depth of 0 cm.  The other two criteria at that depth meet the requirements of low Fe2+ and high O2.  Bubble that bad boy in and move on!

I hope you noticed and confirmed what I always want you to remember about the Science Test: don’t be concerned about the science topics and information being something you haven’t learned.  The science is always given to you in the test booklet.  You just need to read it.

The test writers often provide more than one criterion to search for in a chart and you goof by trying to find all of them simultaneously.  Don’t do that.  Pick one and find it in the chart and then check the others just to confirm your choice.  That strategy will speed you up.

Here’s a shout out to the Warriors at Orlando Christian Prep.  Ms. P tells me you are working hard using my materials and reading my blog each day.  Good for you.  Keep it up and watch those scores increase.  By the way, I’m rooting for your basketball team this week.  Good luck to them in the state tourney.

Bob Alexander, the “SAT and ACT Wizard”