Mar 17 ACT & SAT Question of the Day

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Here’s wishing you a fine St. Patrick’s Day!

The answer is B. I plugged in numbers, substituting the concrete (actual numbers) for the abstract (a and b).  For answer A, if a=0, then there’s no positive number (the absolute value of b) that I can subtract from 0 that results in 5.  Every answer has to be negative.  B works fine since if a=5, then 5-0 (for b=0), the answer is 5.  C and D result in 0.  For answer E, there’s no positive number that you can subtract from 1 that can give you more than 1.

Changing the abstract to the concrete is a very powerful strategy.  A student told me she used the technique “a lot” on the March SAT.  My count of questions on released tests where the strategy works is about 20%.  It is often much more efficient than doing the math while using variables that you are given.

Let’s see what the ACT folks prepared for us today. (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 A.  Be careful; the question asked “would NOT confirm.” Looking at the chart, you can see if you have a sample with a concentration of a specific amount of anything other than 02 (oxygen),  it will match an entry in the chart for either a depth of 15 or 20.  If it is zero for oxygen, you can’t tell what the depth is.  It could be 10, 15, or 20.

This question is a good example of how to prepare for the ACT Science Test.  Practice reading charts and graphs.  Work on your speed.  Don’t waste time reviewing science topics; you couldn’t possibly figure out what to review since the science knowledge that shows up on the test is very unpredictable.

Enjoy your day.

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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