Feb 20 ACT & SAT Question fo the Day

http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-question-of-the-day?src=R&questionId=20130220 (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 D.  As usual, the SAT folks do a nice job of explaining the grammar problem.  A word of caution: don’t get confused or lost by all the prepositions, commas, and conjunctions in the sentences.  It is often easier just to delete them when you attack a sentence so you don’t get lost.  By the time you get to “the zipper” in this sentence, and realize there’s no problem yet, just start reading as if it is the beginning of the sentence.  That is what nailed this sentence for me.  I noticed that “and bound” was a problem.  I used the “that are bound” recommendation of the SAT folks (thanks, Ms. Murphy).  However, what’s nice about this part of the test is that you don’t have to fix the problem; you just have to find it.  Moving on…

Let’s take a look at the ACT question.

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 C.  Take a look at lines 24-27 and you’ll see the answer.  This question points out a major difference between the SAT and ACT.  By my count on a few tests, about 80% (usually more) of the SAT reading test questions have line references.  Less than 50%, sometimes as few as 35%, of the ACT questions have line references.  So, while you may think the questions on the ACT are easier, and this is an example, you need to plan on spending a lot of time trying to find the answers even when the questions are simple like this one.  That will make the ACT challenge a matter of timing.  You need to pick up your speed.  I have many more students complaining the ACT reading section is harder to finish (40 questions in 35 minutes) than the SAT.

On the plus side, the ACT format is “friendlier” in a different way.  You always know the order of the four passages and that makes it easier to do your favorite topic first and put off the one that you dislike the most until last.  For example, if you like science, start with passage #4.  If you dislike humanities, do passage #3 last.  Do them in the order that makes it easier to get off to a good start and put off the least interesting one until last.   By using that strategy, if you are running out of time, you are working on the boring one and that is the one you use to randomly guess the answers before time runs out.  (Topic #1 is always “Prose Fiction” and #2 is “Social Science.”)

My LNHS students did a great job showing me their reading skills last night and seriously kicked on that math stuff.  Good job everyone!  I witnessed lots of progress.  Keep it up.

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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