# ACT & SAT Question of the Day: Mar. 2, 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=20140302&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 E.  Based on the percent of students that are getting it correct (43%), it is a difficult question because students forget to carry the remainder.  In 253 hours there are 253/24 days or 10 days and 13 hours (the remainder when you divide).  To begin 13 hours after 4:00 a.m. is going to be 5:00 a.m.  That eliminates answers B and D.  Now, what day is it?  Ten days after Saturday is Tuesday.  HOWEVER, going from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. means you’ve gone past midnight due to the remainder, which makes it the next day, Wednesday, Answer E.

Let’s use this question to learn my guessing trick that I call “common elements.”  It usually works more often on the ACT than the SAT, but it works just fine on this question.  Let’s take a look at how it works.

The answers have more 5:00’s than 1:00’s which makes 5:00 the most common element.  Eliminate the 1:00 answers, B and D!  There are 4 “a.m.’s” and only 1 “p.m.”  Eliminate the “p.m.,” Answer C.  There are 2 Wednesdays and only 1 of each of the other days.  Eliminate the days that are there only once, Answer A.  That leaves you with E—the right answer!!

Let me be clear.  I want you to try to do the questions properly and not with this trick or strategy.  However, when you take the ACT, you know to never leave a blank.  This strategy will get you more correct answers than random guessing on the ACT.  However, there’s a “guessing penalty” on the SAT.  So, should you use the strategy on the SAT?  Sometimes.  Let’s say you added the remainder of 13 hours and you know for a fact that means the answer has to include 5:00 a.m.  Because you’ve eliminated 1 or more answers, you must guess between the remaining answers.  One is Saturday and one is Wednesday.  There are two “Wednesday” answers available and only one Saturday.  Pick Wednesday.  (BTW, had I written this question, one of the wrong answers would have been 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday.  That would have trapped a bunch of test takers.)

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

I don’t remember seeing this one in a very long time.  It’s worth doing.

The answer is B.  You have to get everything in the right sequence and the pronoun one, has to have a clear and proper antecedent.  Aaron would walk up to the bat rack and then pick one.  That eliminates the original version (answer A) and answer D.  He didn’t pull his arm; that eliminates Answer C.  Answer C is also wrong because he didn’t walk up to the “bats to stretch out his arm.”  He walked up to the bats to pull one down.  That leaves us with B.

Most students need to review their grammar and composition skills.  I recommend you read that part of my free web-based program or watch the online video course.  The 900 video series does a great job of listing the kinds of mistakes that show up on the test.  Then if you need a content review, I recommend a couple of different websites as part of my program.  Take a look at chompchomp and brianserrors.  Those are really good ones.

Enjoy your day.  There’s a whole new week ahead of you.  I hope on Saturday you can say, “I had a great week because I made the most of it,” with enthusiasm!

Bob Alexander, the “SAT and ACT Wizard”