Mar 1 ACT & SAT Question of the Day (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 D.  As usual, the SAT explanation for the grammar issue is fine.  In addition, let’s see what we can learn about taking the test from this question.  Since there are a number of ways to fix comma splice errors, you could needlessly waste time thinking of other fixes before you look at the answers.  For example, you may have considered breaking the original sentence into two sentences and then started looking for an answer with a period in it.  Don’t do that.  Once you see the mistake look for how the test writers fixed the problem.  Save some time.

Let’s see what the ACT folks have for us this morning. (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.)-

I think they just asked this same question a few weeks ago.  They need to get some material!  Let’s use it anyway to see what we can learn about the ACT Science test.

The answer is B. First, don’t worry about reviewing science content for the ACT–they tell you everything you need to know.  Second, be sure you review the basics of scientific methods, experimental design, data collection, and display.  The latter stuff is really important.  If you can’t read tables, charts and graphs, you are going to have a big problem on the Science test.  Use this question as an example.

The question says “Figure 2;” so, the first step is to always make sure you are looking at the right data.  Step two is to look at the labels and key for the figure.  You can see it is about three different plants over the course of four years during the same months each year.  In addition, the key tells us that the width of the bars represents the “summed diameters” and that is the topic of the question.  Step three is to find the necessary data in the figure.  We care about the width of the bars.  Step four is to compare the answers with the data in the figure using only the width of the bars to find the “progressive increase” that you are asked to find by the question.  Horseweed doesn’t change–A is out.  The bars for broomsedge keep getting wider; that looks good.  B is in the running.  Aster is shrinking–C is out.  D is eliminated since we’ve found only broomsedge is increasing.  Circle B in the test booklet, bubble it in, and move on.

The key to success is going to be your ability to do this fast.  Get your hands on some released tests and practice.  You can get a free sample test from and your school counselor probably has one.  The best source you can buy is the “The Real ACT Prep Guide” since it is the only book with actual, released ACT tests.  All the other publications at the bookstore have fake ACTs.  You are better off with real tests.  A bonus for the Prep Guide is that it has explanations for all the answers following each test.  They will help explain the right answers but only practicing will increase your speed!  Time to get to work on that.

Enjoy your weekend.  Don’t forget to come back and visit my blog between now and Monday.  The ACT questions disappear each day and we can’t go back and do ones you’ve missed.  On the other hand, I have an archive for the SAT questions.  You’ll be able to find old ones through my website.

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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