Apr 17 SAT Question of the Day & ACT QotD

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=20130417 (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.  Sometimes the difficulty of a Sentence Completion question lies in the vocabulary that is in the sentence as well as the answers.  It helps if you know the words dictatorships, docile and expedient.  However, it isn’t always critical.   This is a good example.   The words in the answers aren’t much of a challenge and don’t cause the question to be hard.

As always, start the Sentence Completion question by figuring out the topic of the sentence and predicting words for the blanks.  Use key words in the sentence as your guide to making your predictions.   Dictatorships control their citizens and there are consequences for those who do not obey.  It certainly helped to know docile and expedient but did you notice that I purposefully did the question without using them because I wanted you to see that you can still make predictions when you skip words in the sentence that you don’t know?  If you know just the word “dictatorship,” you could do this question.  I hope you didn’t get intimidated (Pillar VI) if you had trouble with “docile” and “expedient.”

Now let’s use our predictions to find the right answer.  Control eliminates D (allows) and E (forbids) and makes B (expects) unlikely.  Obey eliminates B (disobey) and A (rebel), leaving us with C (requires and conform).  Time to move on to the next question after we circle C in the test booklet and then bubble it in on the answer sheet.

Let’s move on to the ACT question.

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.)

Here’s another question that the ACT staff has used multiple times before.  I wish they’d develop some new material.

The answer is F.  Finding the word “burst” in the passage is critical to getting the question correct; so, be sure to use the Wizard’s strategy for how to most easily do that.  As you read, focus on the topic sentences for paragraphs and underline key words and/or phrases in them.  In the paragraph that starts on line 23, you should have underlined “compurgation” because that is the topic of this paragraph.  Doing so would help you find the right lines because the question is asking about “compurgation.”  You will find the word “burst” in line 35 later in the paragraph.  Now just back up and read the lines preceding it.  Usually a couple of sentences works.  In this case, the answer is in the previous sentence.  It says, “in very exact form proceeded without a mistake.”

Getting the right answer from those words is a snap.  Use the PICK strategy.  Which answer Paraphrases the previous sentence?  Answer F.  In addition, answers H and J are not Insertable because they add to the passage.  Answer G is close to being correct and is obviously the trap answer because the prior sentence does tell us that there were a required number of compurgators.  However, line 35 tells us that it is a “mistake” that burst the oath.  That makes F the “best” answer because it indicates an “error” burst the oath.  Remember to watch for Paraphrases among the answers on the reading test and to eliminate answers that add to the passage; those strategies will lead you to a higher score.

Enjoy your day by putting a smile on somebody’s face!


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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