Apr 25 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=20130425 (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.  OMG!  Yes, you could have done this the SAT staff’s way but why would you?  Look at their calculations and you see that it would be Sunday afternoon when you finished changing all the fractions to a common denominator and then  putting all that stuff into your calculator!

You can do this question in your head if you don’t get intimidated (Pillar VI).  First, the 1’s in each equation cancel; so, don’t worry about them.  Second, each fraction in s gets you 1/2 of the way to a whole from where you were when you added it.  Here’s what I mean: 1/2 gets you half way from 0 to 1; then 1/4 gets you half way from 1/2 to 1 which is 3/4 (leaving you 1/4 away from 1).  Then 1/8 splits the remaining 1/4 in half; you are 1/8 of the way from 1.  Then the 1/16 splits that remaining 1/8 in half.  Do you see the pattern?  (Wizard is always saying, “The world of math is a world of patterns!) Each fraction tells you how close you are to 1: 1/2 way, 1/4 way, 1/8, etc.  That means that the 1/32 means you are within 1/32 of getting to 1 or s=1-31/32!  Since t=1/2(s), the answer is 1/64.

What do I want you to learn from this question?  There are two things.  First, if you find yourself doing a lot of math calculations, you are doing way too much work.  I don’t care what the SAT (or ACT) staff puts in their explanations; often it is a waste of time.  Practicing is going to help you see the shortcut ways to the answer.  Keep reading my blog.  Second, “The world of math is a world of patterns.”  While practicing, watch for patterns.  You will find them on both the SAT and ACT math tests.

Let’s move on to see what the ACT folks have for us today.

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.)

The answer is A.  If you use the Wizardly strategy of eliminating any answer that ADDS to the passage, this question is quite simple.  Insert each answer one at a time into the passage and you’ll see answers B, C, and D add something new to the passage.  They simply don’t fit.  For example, “wishing to change the subject to literary figures is a brand new thought.  The other answers add to the passage as well.  Answer A fits just fine.  You could insert a sentence that indicated, “Ms Sennett was often concerned about the well-being of others,” without adding to the passage.  It would fit just fine.

I hope you enjoy your day.  Focus on the positive today.  What is the thing in your life that always makes you smile?


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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