Jan 9 SAT & ACT Question of the Day


The answer is A. “Long been” is an awful, useless, awkward, superfluous, non-standard phrase. The SAT test writer’s explanation is dead on and I would take it one step further. You don’t need those words at all. This sentence makes complete sense without them. Then you would have two parallel phrases, “isolated…” and “perched…” that describe Lhasa. Bingo, all done.

Let’s take a look at the ACT question.


This is standard, common grammar that is tested by the ACT folks. Keep in mind that the underlined portion of a sentence has to be in line with the parts that aren’t underlined. You treat those portions as the foundation of the sentence. In this case, you see the word “shone” is in the past tense and so all the verbs have to be in the past tense. “Will have to” is future; so, you have to change it to the past tense verb “could,” answer D.

If you have been reading my explanations for a while, you should skip to the next paragraph because you know what I’m going to say now.  The ACT test writers tell you in their “Directions” to “Read each passage through once before you begin to answer the questions…”  That statement is NOT directions; it is advice and it is terrible advice.  I keep pointing out whenever they have a grammar Question of the Day, like today’s question, that you don’t need to do that.  If you do, you are wasting your time on a section of the test that many students can’t finish on time.  Yes, once in a while, you may need to read one or two sentences surrounding underlined material to answer the question.  On rare occasion, you even need to read a paragraph.  However, it will be obvious when you need to do that.  But I’ve never seen a case in over 20 years of doing this that it was efficient to read a whole passage before answering any of the questions.  Shame on the ACT folks for deceiving you.  They need to fix their “directions.”

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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