Apr 10 SAT & ACT Question of the Day

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. If you are seeing this in my blog, do the SAT Question of the Day by clicking on this link:

http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-question-of-the-day?src=R&questionId=20130410 (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.)

Sometimes the questions on the SAT are so easy that we can’t believe that we are doing them the right way!  Often that leads us to doing something complicated with the question and getting it wrong or at least wasting time.  Today’s question is an example of that situation.  Furthermore, the SAT staff’s explanation doesn’t help by providing an accurate but complicated way to do the question!  You could certainly do the question their way but why waste the time?

The answer is A.  Just cancel the 5/14 that is on each side of the equation and that leaves you with N = 7/9.  Canceling the 5/14 is the same as dividing each side of the equation by 5/14.  Either process leaves you with the right answer.  If you want to waste some time, do it the SAT staff’s way.  However, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Remember Pillar VI: Don’t Be Intimidated by the Seemingly Difficult.  The test writers have an ability to make relatively easy material look difficult.  Keep in mind this is the SAT “Reasoning Test.”  Sometimes just thinking about a question helps simplify it and will help you get it right.  What if this question had been Nx3=3×4.  You could have canceled the 3 from each side of the equation (or divided each side by 3) to get N = 4.  There’s nothing tricky to doing this.  Just keep Nike’s old slogan “Just Do It,” in mind and you’ll be fine.

Let’s see what the ACT folks have for us this morning.

http://www.act.org/qotd/ (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.)

This question only supports the point I was making about the SAT test: sometimes the questions are so easy that we can’t believe it so we erroneously make them more complicated.

The answer is C.  Since we started with a stick that was 1 meter tall and pounded it into the ground so that it was only .5 meters tall, the shadow would be only half as long.  The only hard part of the question is to remember that in the description of the experiment they tell you that 1 meter of the stick was left above the ground.  However, it is easy to go back and see that.  It is also helpful when you initially read the information about experiments to underline data.  In this case, you would have easily remembered or at least been able to find the necessary information.

Best of luck on Saturday’s ACT.  Tune in tomorrow and I’ll tell you what to eat for breakfast.  Yes, there’s is research that suggests proper nutrition on test day will affect your score.


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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