Dec 28 SAT & ACT Question of the Day

This is a great question to use to learn about a couple of the patterns that show up on both the SAT and ACT every time the test is administered. First, watch out for idioms and colloquialisms. “because of” is an idiom and needs to be avoided at all costs. There are a few more that I discuss in my SAT and ACT course. Second, the maxim “shorter is better” is never more true than on the SAT and ACT grammar and composition questions. If you keep those two general rules in mind, you’ll nail this question and get the right answer (D) and all the questions that are like it.

What does the ACT have for us today?

Why do I get up every morning and write an explanation for the SAT and ACT Question of the Day when the SAT and ACT websites already provide one?  Well, it’s because their explanations are often just really lame and don’t help you become a better test taker.  This question is a perfect example.

Look at their explanation; of course you know you’ve got to find the the word that best fits into the “context” as explained by the frost bitten brains in Iowa.  (That’s where the ACT folks live.) After all, the questions asks, “As it is used in line 3…”  So, their explanation explains why this answer (D) is right but doesn’t give you an SAT or ACT test-taking strategy for future questions that are the same format.

Use my “Insert” strategy for these questions and you’ll master them.  Simply substitute the answers for the word (in this case “composed”) that is in this question and read the sentence.  Then use a second part of my SAT and ACT “PICK” strategy, paraphrase.  If substituting the answer restates the original sentence without changing its meaning, you are ready to go to the next question.

In this case, answers A-C make me laugh.  When I plug them in they are nonsensical.  The SAT folks are a lot trickier.  They always pick words that have several meanings and use alternate synonyms as wrong answers!  You have to be really careful and use PICK. “Insertable” and “Paraphrase” are the keys to answering these questions.

But “wait” you might ask, “What if I don’t know the meanings of the words?”  Good question.  Trust your judgment.  You have a latent (look it up on!) vocabulary that will be helpful.  When you do the substitution, one of the answers will sound better than the others.  Go for it.

Be sure to do a free registration for my website and I’ll email you a link to the explanation every day.

I hope you find my tips and tricks . If so, let your friends know about my blog. You’ll find all of my tips and tricks in my ACT and SAT online class, live course, DVD set, or when I tutor. Hopefully, I’ll see you in class or on the Internet.

The 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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