Jan 18 ACT & SAT Question of the Day

http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-question-of-the-day?src=R&questionId=20130118 (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. However in my first few blogs, I didn’t use a date in my link and you won’t get the proper question. Sorry.)

The answer is D.  Ms. Murphy (my ninth grade English teacher) always said, “Shorter is better.”  If you can say the same thing with fewer words, go for it.  This SAT question is a perfect example of when you should do this.  “Where she” is certainly unnecessary.  In addition, “where” is just silly; there’s not a reference to a place she was when she “incorporated native and religious…”  Finally, you have to avoid answer C, “incorporated.”  “Incorporating” is the proper word for describing the artist and her work.

I wonder what the ACT folks are up to 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 C.  The ACT folks do a pretty good job of providing an explanation.  However, there are a couple of strategies that they don’t talk about that you have to use with this question.  First, be very careful when you are given p% and the answers don’t involve the % sign.  That means you need to change things to p/100.  (The SAT folks are very tricky at doing this to you as well.)  Sometimes they put a % sign in the answers and you don’t need to divide.  Just be careful.

Second, the easy way to do this question is to use my strategy, “Change the abstract to the concrete,” or “Change the algebra to arithmetic.”  (That’s two ways to say the same thing.)    Doing so will help avoid making a simple mistake.  The ACT staff incorporates this strategy in their explanation without telling you that’s what they did.  They needed to tell you the n=100 and p=30 is just one of many examples that would work.  For example, you could have used 10, 25, 40, etc. to get the answer.  The important point is that you can do in your head the calculation to get the right answer if you pick an easy number for p.  For example, if p=25 out of 100, then you know that 75 don’t play an instrument.  Only one of the answers comes out to 75 when you plug 25 and 100 into the five different answers.

You need to keep this strategy in mind on the tests.  For example, I’ve counted the times on the SAT when this strategy is useful.  On the two tests I randomly picked, approximately 20% of the questions could be answered by “changing the abstract to the concrete.”  That’s a lot of points!

I hope my SAT and ACT Question of the Day strategies and explanations are helpful and, if so, spread the word. Tell your friends at school and social media friends.

If you are taking the January SAT, 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.

A special reminder to my Osceola County students: Be sure to remind your friends about our upcoming class on this Saturday. Do your assignment and email me so I know you’ll be attending.

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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