Mar 11 ACT & SAT Question of the Day

If you are connecting to my blog using an email you received from me, do not click the link t0 below.  Use the link to my website that is farther down on the email. (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.)

I hope those of you who took the SAT over the weekend did well.  My students reported that there were “no surprises on test day.”  That’s always good since that is why they take my classes and watch my DVDs–to eliminate surprises and to be prepared for everything they’ll see on the test.  My reading and math strategies were reported to work for all the questions.  Glad to hear it.  Now all we have to do is wait for the score reports.  Good luck.

The answer to the SAT QotD is B.  Well, this is unusual.  The SAT staff’s explanation is how I did the question and it is how I would explain it.  I believe that’s the first time in the history of my blog that this has happened.  Go ahead and read what they have to say.  Maybe they have started reading my strategies!!  Just kidding.

The SAT folks love pattern questions and we just talked about them this past week in my classes (DVD #8).  I think the importance of today’s question is to understand that one of the answers is going to work for them.  Whenever they ask a question similar to this one, always just use the answers.  Don’t waste time trying to create the equation.  Just pick a term (I used the 5th one–n=5, 20 is the answer,) and plugged it into the answers.  B is the only one that worked.  No fuss, no muss.

Let’s see what the ACT folks has 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.)

The answer is G.  Read the ACT explanation.  Now, ask yourself why did they bother to do all that work.  You do not need to worry about whether it is 1000 bulbs.  Ratios are ratios and the total population is irrelevant in this question.  I just used the 1/40 to figure it out.  The denominator tells me the “sum of the parts” of the ratio (review DVD #5).  That means 1 out of forty is defective and 39 are not.  That makes the ratio 1:39 which is rewritten as answer G.

I would usually make a point of not confusing 1/40 and 1 over 40 the way they wrote it in question.  (I can’t make the fractions in my blog with a horizontal bar.)  Using the horizontal bar generally represents a ratio, not a fraction and vice versa.  A fraction is represented with a slash (/) like I wrote 1/40.  In this case, the ACT folks used the horizontal bar for both a fraction and a ratio.  I’m guessing they have the reverse problem that I have; maybe they can’t make a slash but that’s hard to believe.  What is the point of all this?  On the actual test just be careful to distinguish when they are referring to a ratio and when they are making a fraction whether they use the slash or the horizontal bar.  If you do this, life will go better on test day!

Hope you have a great week.  I’m looking forward to my LNHS class tonight.  We have a special speaker coming for the “writing lesson” to talk about how to write your college application essays!

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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