If you are reading this in an email you received from me, do not click the link to sat.collegeboard.org below. Use the link to my website that is farther down on the email. If you are seeing this in my blog, dco the SAT Question of the Day by clicking on this link:
http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-question-of-the-day?src=R&questionId=20130604 (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 A. What is the topic of the sentence? In other words, what does the sentence tell us about the subject of the sentence, anecdotes? They were “engaging and provocative.” So, let’s predict a word for the blank based on the topic. The best words to predict are often words in the sentence. I focused on “provocative.” That prediction left only piquant, Answer A.
Often the words on the test are going to be ones you don’t know. What do you do then? Let’s use the word “insipid” as an example. Can you define it? If not, I bet you have a sense of what it means or doesn’t mean. All you really care about is does it seem like it means “provocative” or “engaging.” After all, the right answer has to be consistent with those words because they determine the topic of the sentence. The right answer has to be related to the topic. If an answer isn’t, you can eliminate it. After you eliminate at least one answer, you should guess at the rest because the “guessing penalty” becomes a “guessing reward.” The odds are now in your favor.
Let’s see what we can do to demystify the ACT.
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. Use my “add” technique. Ask yourself, “Does the answer add something new to the passage when you insert it?” All the wrong answers add to the story. There’s an additional way to eliminate answers A and B. They mean almost the same thing as one another. To discriminate between them would be fine of a decision. You can eliminate both of them. These techniques leave only “age and fatigue” which are words that insert just fine into the passage. We know Ms. Sennett is older and tired; so, “age and fatigue” make a great answer. That makes it the best answer.
Enjoy your day.