Feb 18 ACT & SAT Question of the Day

http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-question-of-the-day?src=R&questionId=20130218 (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.  Well, this is a rare occasion!  Since I did the the question in a very similar way to the SAT staff’s explanation, I can’t do anything but complement them on their way of doing this question.  Congrats to them.

However, I did employ a Wizard’s Strategy when doing the question that saved a lot of time.  Plus, my approach is based on understanding some things about our opponent, the test writer.  I know that the test writers pick numbers for a reason.  In this case, I saw that their integers (7 and 13) are prime numbers.  Keeping in mind, “The world of math is a world of patterns,” I used easier prime numbers, 3 and 5, instead of their prime numbers.  Now I did everything in my head and avoided using the time eating monster that you call a calculator!  3 times 5 is 15 and 15 along with all of its multiples are in both S and T (the intersection).  Doing this helped me not worry about how much is 7 times 13 and all of that product’s multiples.  In short, I just used a different pair of prime numbers to answer the question.

Now to be truthful, I just did that example to prove a point.  (I didn’t really use 3 and 5; I just told that story so you could learn something about math.)  The test writers love questions about prime numbers and their characteristics.  When you multiply them, certain things happen that the SAT and ACT folks think you should know.  It is one of the numerous patterns that show up on the test and you need to take advantage of those patterns.  There are a gazillion opportunities (okay maybe only a dozen or more) on every test to improve your score by using the patterns that exist in the world of math.  For example, what would you have done if the test writer had used p and q and told you that they were “prime numbers greater than 2” instead of 7 and 13?  Then, by golly you should have substituted 3 and 5 like I did in my previous example.

Do a sample question like this from a real SAT test.  Go to page 702 in the Official SAT Study Guide and do question number 17.  For an explanation, watch my DVD #4.  I refer you there so that you can really see something important about this test: your SAT opponent uses the same questions time after time and just changes the way they set them up.  Today’s Question of the Day and that question both are based on the same issue: multiplication of prime numbers.  There’s a pattern to the products of prime numbers.  Use the patterns on the test to raise your score!

I wonder what those sneaky test writers from the cornfields of Iowa (ACT staff) have in store for us this morning.

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 H.  The ACT explanation is a good one and you should read it if you missed this question.

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while know what I’m going to say next; so you can quit reading now and I’ll wish you a nice day!  If you are new to the blog, you should read on.

This question is a perfect example of how the ACT English Test “Directions” are awful and the test writers should be embarrassed.  They tell you to read the whole passage first and then come back and do the questions.  Shame on them!  That’s isn’t directions; it is advice and it is awful advice.  It wastes an awful lot of time to do that.  It simply isn’t necessary.  For example, you only had to read this sentence to get it right.  You didn’t need to read anything else to do it.  Enough said.

If your schools are closed today, I hope you enjoy your day and spend the extra time doing some practice getting ready for the SAT and/or ACT (hopefully both).  Doing these Questions of the Day is really helpful and you need to do real test questions from the Official SAT Study Guide and the Real ACT Prep Guide.  They are the only sources of actual test questions; all other prep books have fake tests in them!  Those tests are fabrications and to varying extents don’t accurately reflect the real tests.  Use the real thing in the manuals I recommend.  (No, I’m not on the SAT or ACT staff and earn money from their sales of these books.  Just follow my blog and you’ll see that I’m quite critical of their explanations on many occasions.  It’s just that I believe in using real practice questions and those manuals provide them–others don’t.)

It’s cold here this morning (35).  Would somebody from the South send me some warm weather?  Oh wait, I live in Florida.  It isn’t supposed to get this cold–spring should be here.  It is supposed to be over 80 by the end of the week; I can’t wait.

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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