Feb 25 ACT & SAT Question of the Day

http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-question-of-the-day?src=R&questionId=20130225 (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 A.  I remember “double features,” what a deal!  Popcorn, a drink, and two movies for a $1.00!!  Cheap date.  Of course, minimum wage was less than a dollar then too.  So much for nostalgia…

What’s the topic of the sentence?  What words did you predict before looking at the answers?  Theaters were trying to “attract” moviegoers since the “beginning” or “arrival” of the depression.  Now, let’s get down to the a specific strategy: use one prediction at a time.  Let’s try “attract” first.  Looking at the first column, “lure” sure works.  (I’m a fisherman and use lures all the time to attract fish.)  B, C, and D are nonsense since they have nothing to do with “attract.”  Answer E doesn’t either but it is a pretty good distractor since it means to “urge” or promote” somebody to take action.  However, it would be a bad verb choice since it doesn’t say “instigate” them to do a particular thing although it is implied to get them to get back to the movies.  So, let’s leave it as a possible answer for now even though it is weak.  Now I only have to worry about the second words for Answers A and E because I’ve saved a lot of time by eliminating B-D using only the first word.  Maybe I don’t know the word “advent” (A) but “devastation” sure doesn’t have anything to do with my predictions of “beginning” and “arrival.”  That leaves answer A.

The word “advent” reminds me to remind you of something.  Learn morphemes or word parts.  Take a look at advent and even if you know what it means keep reading.  Let’s pretend you don’t and you are trying to figure out a definition for it or at least you just need to figure out if it has something to do with the predictions of “beginning” or “arrival.” Ad– means to or towards. Ven comes from the Latin word for come.  So, advent has a sense of “coming to” something–that’s arrival.  I like this answer.

My point is simple–learn and use word parts.  When you do, you learn families or large groups of words that have common roots/stems and prefixes.  Your vocabulary grows exponentially rather than one word at a time.

I hear Ms. C at LNHS does a great job of teaching this.  Her students are sure lucky to have her.  Thank her for it!  And while you’re at it, thank all of your good teachers for being there for you.  It will cheer them up.

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 B.  The ACT folks do a fine job of explaining how to get to the right answer which saves me the task of having to type all those numbers!!  So, go with it.

However, you know I don’t believe the value of doing the ACT and SAT Questions of the Day is this or any other individual question.  (They won’t show up on test day.)  The value lies in what you can learn about the test.  Two quick things pop to mind this morning: test structure and test-taking strategy.  The structure of the ACT is such that you don’t need to worry about whether you know any science prior to the test; reviewing science knowledge before the test is a waste of time!  The ACT test writer gives you all the science you need.  What you need to review is scientific methods and data analysis techniques.  (For example, they explain the science (pH) that you need for this question and the truth is you don’t even need to understand pH.  You just need to read the column they tell you to read–the heading could be “xyzzzzzzzz!”   Just be sure you are reading the right one.)  Second, when you read charts, tables, and graphs, among other things be sure you focus on trends.  Don’t read the diagrams initially for details.  Let the questions direct you in that regard.  This is certainly a “trend” question; you have to extrapolate from the given data.  That is a scientific reasoning skill that is measured on the test.  Recognizing data trends and extrapolation/interpolation are both worthy of focus prior to taking the ACT, not science content.

Hey, it’s Monday morning and there’s a great week ahead of you full of opportunity.  Seize it.  You can’t relive it; so, do it right.

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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