ACT & SAT Question of the Day: Mar. 27, 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.)

The answer is A.  As with all SAT Sentence Completion questions, start by determining the topic of the sentence.  This sentence describes how the “double feature” was used to get moviegoers to go to the theater during the Depression when money would have been scarce.  (Is this the original BOGO?!)  Now let’s predict words for the blanks before looking at the answers.  A word like “attract” would make sense for the first blank and “beginning” would work for the second blank.  Let’s use these two words/predictions to find the best answer.

Here’s the best strategy when you have two blanks.  Use one of the predictions to eliminate as many answers as possible and then use the second prediction to decide which of the remaining answers works best.  Let’s start with “attract” for the first blank.  Looking at the answers, only Answer A, “lure” works.  We are all done without even bothering to look at the second blank!

Had you started with the second blank, which is just fine, you would have eliminated Answers B and E by predicting “beginning.”  Then you only needed to bother considering the first words for Answers A, C, and D.  Doing so would lead you to the same correct answer but would take a few more seconds.

My point today is to always approach Sentence Completion questions that have two blanks by using one blank at a time.  This technique will save you a lot of time when compared to considering both blanks for each of the five answers.

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

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 J.  This is a classic style of question that the ACT and SAT test writers love.  They don’t give you any numbers.  When you see questions like this you just need to remember, “The world of math is a world of patterns.”  It doesn’t matter what the actual numbers would be as long as they follow the rule(s) you are given.  So, just make them up!  Just use ones that are consistent with the rules.

They tell you a is a positive fraction because they say it is between 0 and 1.  And you know b is greater than 1.  Let’s pick 1/2 for a and 4 for b.  That means ab is 1/2 times 4 which is 2, ab = 2.   That leaves us with 1/2 < 2 < 4 or a < ab < b, Answer J.  That was easy!

Remember my strategy: “When they don’t give you numbers, make stuff up!”  I refer to it as “Substitute numbers for variables,” “Change the algebra to arithmetic,” and “Change the abstract to the concrete.”  They all mean the same thing.  The strategy makes this and similar questions much easier and it greatly reduces the chances of making a silly math error.

Thought for the day:

I went to an NIT basketball game last night.  FSU got off to a great start, 14-3.  Then Louisiana Tech didn’t give up and got ahead in the second half.  FSU fought back and won 78-75.  Neither team ever gave up.  They both played hard until the final buzzer and the game was over.

There’s something to be learned from these teams.  It is critically important to work hard when you are faced with adversity and never slow down when you are ahead.  Use their play last night as a model for approaching your test prep.  When you have trouble with questions, work harder.  When you get questions right, don’t become complacent.

FSU is going to the NIT Final Four.  Congratulations.  Go Noles!

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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