Feb 8 ACT & SAT Question of the Day

http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-question-of-the-day?src=R&questionId=20130208 (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.  Pronoun-antecedent agreement is both an SAT and ACT favorite.  Whenever you see a pronoun underlined, in this case “that,” be sure it accurately reflects the noun for which it stands.  For this question, the issue is singular/plural consistency.  Since “that” represents “seas,” it has to be the plural pronoun “those.”

Other problems regarding pronouns that show their ugly faces on the test are gender and case.  First, be sure that the pronouns are consistent with whether their antecedent is male or female.  Second, a more common issue is “case.”   Pronouns can be in the subjective, objective, or possessive cases.  For example, he, him, and his are the three cases of the same masculine pronoun.

These pronoun issues are a good example of why you should review a list of common English errors that are tested by your SAT and ACT opponents, the test writers.  I have a list of them in my online program and you could also watch DVD #9: The Writing Test in my DVD series, Demystifying the SAT and ACT.

I wonder what the ACT test writers have prepared 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 this morning is certainly acceptable but I answered it much more quickly by understanding some things about the nature of writing.  The introductory paragraph always clues you into the main idea which in this case is about Mrs. Sennett taking care of some children.  Then the second paragraph gives a perfect example of the answer.  Mrs. Sennett is concerned if the children are bothering the narrator and the narrator, in turn, didn’t let Mrs. Sennett get up to correct the children’s behavior.  Those are “considerate” interactions between the two of them.  Certainly, there are other examples later in the passage but you can tell how the two react to one another much earlier in the passage than what the ACT folks tell you in their explanation of the question.

My “add” strategy really pays off for questions very quickly and keeps you from wasting time.  In this case, if you insert “stimulating,” “indifferent,” or “emotional” (answers F, G, and J) into the story they all add to the passage.   That makes them wrong.  Use the “add” strategy to quickly and efficiently eliminate wrong answers.  Watch my free reading YouTube video that you’ll find on the home page.  It provides a good explanation of this issue.

I’ve had a great week.  You students at Apopka High were fun to teach on Tuesday.  I don’t think I’ve ever been in such a large group that was so respectful and attentive.  Thanks.  I also had a great time yesterday with you Gateway High students.  I hope you all learned a few things and use them to raise your scores.

If you are taking the ACT this Saturday, time is running short. I recommend you watch my online Tips and Tricks videos to help you prepare. In addition to the free ones on the home page, it only costs $3 to watch an hour of my best test-taking techniques for taking the SAT and ACT tests.

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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