Mar 15 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 to 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 wonder if the SAT wants to play the role of Brutus on this Ides of March!

The answer is E.  This question sure doesn’t stab us in the back!  It’s not bad.  The topic of the sentence is how the two speakers dislike one another but they were in agreement on several issues.  The key word although and phrases disliked one another and avoid petty squabbling helped us predict a first word that means they were expected to squabble and a second word that meant they agreed.  Using the second word first (purely a matter of what word I wanted to play with), led me to accord, answer E, since none of the other answers were synonyms for my prediction, agree.  So, I am done and can pick answer E.  If I hadn’t known one of the other second words, for example, dissonance, I would have had to leave answer C in the running.  Then the first words for answers C and E would have helped.  Debate doesn’t mean the speakers didn’t get along.  So I’m still left with E.  The first word, bicker, supports my decision since it means squabble or let’s me know they didn’t get along.  Finally, when I check my choice by reading the sentence using my answers, it sounds good.  In fact, it is perfect!

Here’s an important characteristic of the test that is exemplified by this question.  Sometimes you get the right answer for the two-blank questions by picking the right word for just one column because there is only one synonym and the other four answers are wrong!  That’s a long ways from a stab in your back.  It’s like a big hug!!

If you aren’t familiar with the Ides of March reference and the stab in the back, that was when Julius Ceaser was assassinated by his “pal,” Brutus.  Check it out on Wiki.

I wonder if the ACT folks are going to be as kind. (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.)

Well, yes and no is the answer to my question.  It is one of the four trig questions that can show up on the test and it is moderately difficult and impossible if you don’t know the  “Pythagorean identity.”  (A stab in the back.) However, it isn’t difficult if you’ve been following my blog since they just asked this question recently!

The answer is F.  The math is pretty simple if you know that sin2A + cos2A = 1.  You can read their explanation which saves me typing all the exponents and radical signs.

I just wish the ACT folks would use some of the thousands of questions in their archives to give us some new materials.  How hard would that be?

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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