Jan 20 ACT & SAT Question of the Day

http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-question-of-the-day?src=R&questionId=20130120 (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 A.  With SAT Sentence Completion questions always start by focusing on the topic of the sentence.  What is it telling us about the image of the fossil?  Ms. Ferguson is criticizing it; so, there must be something not so good.  Now make a prediction before looking at the answers. I’d have predicted “little bit” of evidence and “a guess” for the second blank.  Looking at the second column of answers first, there’s only one word that means “a guess.”  I’m done.  To check my work, I’d look at the first column of answers and only A and B mean “little bit” but B can’t be right because “supplemented” doesn’t mean “a guess.”

The SAT folks like the word “modicum.”  Memorize it.  The problem with the word is it means both a “small amount” and a “moderate or middle amount.”  Go figure!  For this question, both definitions fit since they mean not enough to draw an image that didn’t involve guessing.  Oh, well.

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 B.  The ACT test writers did a good job of explaining things today.  Good for them.  Since this passage isn’t going to be on your test, it isn’t the knowledge or facts or question that is the reason to do an ACT Question of the Day.  The purpose is to learn a principle about taking the test.  What could you learn?  The most important thing is don’t try to figure out everything that the tables, charts, and graphs on the test tell you before you get to the questions.  All you need to determine is the “main idea.”  In this case, the two tables tell us in either the Northern or Southern Hemispheres there are some shadows (checking the labels) that on different days (checking the labels) had different lengths and pointed different directions.  Without worrying about any of the data, go to the questions.  It is the questions that will tell you what data is important.  In this case, the direction of the shadows answers this question.

Osceola students–if you’ve done the practice test and have a question about any of the items, let me know and I’ll help you. The test is only a week away.

If you are taking the January SAT and/or February ACT, 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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