Apr 6 ACT & SAT 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=20130406 (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.  Always keep in mind that the portions of the sentence that are not underlined have to be accepted as accurate.  I think of them as the base.  That means all the words and phrases that are underlined must be consistent with them.

This sentence is a perfect example of one of the SAT test writers’ favorite mistakes: parallel structures.  They appear on the test in a number of forms and in this case, we have a problem of noun/noun agreement.  The subject of the sentence (meteorite) is singular and has to be parallel with particles and giants which are plural because they are not underlined.  Meteorite has to be consistent with particles and giants which are examples of meteorites.  So, A is wrong.  If you had to edit it, which you don’t,  meteorite should be meteorites and you would need a plural verb, show.  Okay, now I’ve taken care of the grammatical reason why the answer is correct.  Let’s do some thinking.

I actually just did some reasoning with this sentence.  How can a single, individual meteorite vary in size from dust particles to giants?  It can’t!  The sentence would have to give us a sense that the meteorite (singular) is changing from one size to another but it doesn’t.  That is what I first saw about the sentence and then recognized the grammar error.  Keep in mind that the sentences on the SAT must make sense.  When they don’t, you are on your way to finding the answer.

Let’s find our way to the ACT Question of the Day.

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 is a perfect example of how you can best spend your time preparing for the ACT Science Test.  Don’t waste time reviewing science; it is always given to you.  You need to practice reading charts, graphs, tables, and figures.  Learn to get the big picture initially and don’t worry about details until after you have read a question.

The answer is D.  The science is in the introduction to the tables and in the question.  In the introduction, you are told that the stakes are 1 foot tall.  Then in the question you are told that when the sun is at 45 degrees the shadow is as tall as the stake, 1 foot.  Then you are asked to find a day when the sun is at 45 degrees or when is the shadow as long as the stake is tall: 1 foot.  No problem, there is only one cell in the tables that is 1 foot.  On “Day 3,” Shadow C in Table 2 is 1 foot: Answer D.  Yes, the answers are often that simple.  You just need to practice reading ACT diagrams quickly and accurately and learn to trust your ability to do so.  As my mentor used to say, “Confidence builds scores!”

Enjoy your Saturday.


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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