Jan 7 SAT & ACT Question of the Day


This is a fun question.  Some people like to do crossword puzzles and I like to do SAT and ACT test questions!  It combines probability with simple inequalities.

When you solve the two inequalities you find out that x is less than 4 and greater than -10.  Only two of the five values in the set (-5 and 0) are in that range.  Probability is expressed as “the number of correct ways/the number of possible ways” an event can occur.  In this case, 2 ways work out of 5 possible options; therefore, the answer is 2/5.

Have you taken my free online math diagnostic?  It lists all the math concepts that show up on the SAT and ACT.  You will certainly see “inequalities” and “probability” on my test.  Once you get your score report from the diagnostic, you’ll see a comprehensive list of the math topics you’ll need to review before taking the SAT and ACT.  It will also help you avoid wasting time reviewing math topics that aren’t on the  tests!

Let’s take a look at the ACT question.


This is a standard “detail” question and is answered in lines 7-9: “One party publicly “appealed,” or accused, the other before the community meeting… ” and is later supported by lines 74-76.

There are 5 different question types on the test and “detail” questions is just one of them.  You need to learn the types and how to recognize them.  Each one has its own strategies for identifying the clues in the passage that provide you the answer and each one has specific strategies that will help you avoid falling for traps.  Refer to my SAT and ACT prep programs for a complete list of the different question types.

“Detail” questions are much more common on the ACT than on the SAT; in fact, you rarely see them on the SAT.  A major challenge of the ACT is to finish the reading test on time.  Most students think that finding the answers is hard since there aren’t as many line references on the ACT as there are on the SAT and this question is a perfect example.  The test writer doesn’t tell you where to look to get the information to answer the question.

On the SAT, there are line references for practically every question on the test with the exception of global questions like Main Idea and author’s Purpose questions.  This is a major difference between the two tests that make some students feel like the SAT Critical Reading test is easier than the ACT Reading test.

There’s a complete explanation of the differences between the SAT and ACT reading tests in my materials.  It will help you refine your approach to preparing for the tests.

I hope my SAT and ACT Question of the Day strategies and explanations are helpful and, if so, spread the word. Tell your 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.  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 Kissimmee students: Be sure to remind your friends about our upcoming class on the 19th. 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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