Feb 13 ACT & SAT Question of the Day

http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-question-of-the-day?src=R&questionId=20130213 (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 B.  As always, start with the topic and make a prediction before looking at the answers.  Four of the answers are “distractors,” wrong answers that are designed to keep you from focusing on the right answer.  They are just like distractions in real life; fishing often distracts me from cutting the lawn!  Anyway, back to the question.

The topic of the sentence is signaled by the word “notwithstanding.”  There’s going to be a change in direction.  The second half of the sentence is going to be the opposite of the first half.  Either his experience is lacking but he’s going to get the job or his experience is fine but he’s not going to be hired.  Since this is the SAT, it is most likely going to be the first case!!  Let’s see which it is.  For answer A, both words are positive and consistent; so it is wrong.  For answer B, there is a negative word then a positive word–looks good but we have to check the rest of the answers.  For answer C, both words positive.  Answer D looks attractive since it is positive and then too positive; so, let’s hang onto that one for a second.  Answer E is two negative words; you can dismiss that one.

Back to D, if his experience was “useful,” then it couldn’t be “too useful,” or “overqualified.”  That would make the hiring manager look bad.  Read the sentence using those words.  Now read the sentence using “limited” and “qualified for.”  That sure sounds a lot better.  There is a clear sense of things going from negative to positive.  D goes from positive to negative which is a change in direction.  However, having “useful” experience wouldn’t make him “overqualified” unless the hiring manager was not trying to find a good employee and then he wouldn’t be doing a good job himself!  Let’s get rid of that answer.

I wonder what the ACT test writers have prepared for us to start off this morning.  I hope my followers in New England are out from under the snow.

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 F.  In Experiment 1, we are told that one meter of the stick is above the ground and in Experiment 2, we are told, “the student repeated Experiment 1.”  Case closed.

However, I was sure attracted to answer D for a few seconds.  It is a terrific distractor.  Choosing the same day of the year in the two locations would be a great idea to assure corresponding results in the two experiments.  But there is no information assuring us that the experimenter did this.  All we are told is that the experimental designed included dates that were at “three- or four-month intervals.”  Maybe the student tried to do that but it was a cloudy day.  Who knows?  Anyway, you have to eliminate answers that would make sense (plausible) but aren’t supported by the passage’s information.  That is just like the reading test; you can only pick answers that are based on the information you are given-not prior knowledge.

Here’s a big shout out to my new students at LHS!  I hope missing your classes yesterday was worth our “in-school field trip.”  Don’t forget, “The world of math is a world of patterns.”  Now get back to AP Lang and say, “Hi,” to Ms. M for me and be sure to thank her for excusing you from class yesterday.

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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