Dec 30 SAT & ACT Question of the Day
This is a pretty simple SAT question; lots of students are getting it right.

The key to the question is the word although. You have to watch out for what I call “key words and phrases.”  Be sure to underline them when you see them since they often signal changes in “direction” or “charges” (positive/negative).  This is a good example.  We start out with an unknown charge describing whoever “him” is and the second part of the sentence tells us the charge is negative.  Although indicates something changes or is the opposite of what his friends thought.  Therefore, it is the opposite of “unsure.”  Confident works.

Always remember the major issue with SAT Sentence Completion is the topic of the sentence.  In this case, it is about being “shy and unsure.”  That makes resigned, generous, and patient obviously wrong since they have nothing to do with the “shy and unsure.” Cautious is a good trap answer since it only relates to being unsure of oneself but not to shy.

I deal with how to avoid this kind of trap answer in my SAT and ACT programs.  You should take a look.

Let’s see if the ACT question of the day is as easy.

Well, not quite as easy.  First, there’s a trap in what they imply you should do and then there’s an issue of understanding how they lay traps for you in the answers.

To start, the ACT folks suggest since the “writer has been asked to write an essay…” that you’ll need to read the entire essay to figure it out.  Stop!!  Whoa!! Don’t fall for that.  When you write essays, you put the main idea in the first paragraph.  That’s all you need to read to answer this question: the first paragraph.  The essay is about radios and not technologies in general.  So, the answer can’t be A or B.  D isn’t right since the issue in the passage is the evolution, regulation, and profits of radios.  It is a pretty attractive answer.  C is better due t the explanation below.

The ACT English Test’s major challenge is finishing on time.  When the test writers suggest you should read the whole passage before answering questions (as they do in the Directions) and in this question, they are just being mean and nasty.  Just kidding, they aren’t “mean and nasty” but they sure aren’t being helpful.  They are hurting your score!  Don’t fall for their trap.

Here’s why C is better than D.  Second, never forget on the SAT and ACT that when the issue is main idea, there is a very common distractor (wrong answer).  One or more wrong answers will be too limiting as it is in this case.  Answer A is tricky.  It says, “Yes” and then uses a specious statement to support it because it is too limiting.  However, since radio is a technology many students will pick this answer.  Be sure to make sure that answers about main ideas cannot be limited to just one example or just one paragraph.

Hope all this helps.  If so, tell your Facebook friends.

My SAT and ACT prep program addresses these and the dozens of other issues you’ll be facing on test day.  Take a look at the many options I provide under the “test prep” menu on the website.

Have a great day.

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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