Mar 21 ACT & SAT Question of the Day

If you are reading this in 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. If you are seeing this in my blog, do the SAT Question of the Day by clicking on this link: (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.  “Words of Wiz-dom:” find the topic of the sentence, predict words for the blanks, find synonyms for your predictions.  The first clause tells us that in the past the provisions were not mandatory but will now become mandatory.  I used “not mandatory” for my prediction.  The second clause tells us people who don’t follow or comply with the policy will lose their grants.  I predicted “violators.”  Because I felt that my predictions were equally good, I started with the first blank and  column of answers.  (You could have easily started with the second blank.)  “Nominal” (answer B) works because it can mean insignificant; so I kept it and “recommended” (answer D) looked really good based on my prediction of “not mandatory.”  Checking the second words for B and D, left me with D because “advocates” (answer B) is the opposite of my prediction, “violators.”  Answer D is my actual prediction — I love it when that happens!  Finally, I checked my word by reading the sentence using the words for answer D.  It sounded great; so, I moved on to the next question.

Let’s move on to the ACT question. (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.  I’m getting tired of this question; it’s the third time I’ve seen it in about four months!  If you are new to my blog, let’s use it to learn some things about the ACT.

Reviewing a lot of science for the test is a waste of time because you may not have ever been taught the concepts that show up on the test AND you’ll never predict the concepts anyway.  That leaves the question, “What can you review?”  Look over some materials about the scientific process, i.e., how do scientists work.  Focus your attention on reviewing how research is conducted, the elements of well-designed experiments, independent/dependent variables, experimental controls, the importance of sample size, assumptions made by the researchers, etc.   Review how data is displayed: charts, graphs, tables, etc.  Focus on titles, labels, and units.  Practice improving your speed at getting the big picture or main idea in the display of data and don’t worry about the details.  They only become important if there’s a specific question about a part of the data and you’ll come back to it after you read the question.  These latter “Words of Wiz-dom” will improve your speed which is a major issue for many students who take the test.

Do some planning of your schedule for the next several weeks.  It is a busy time of the year.  Test dates are going to sneak up on you more quickly than you think.  Squeeze in some time for ACT and SAT prep during your spring break.  Maybe you are going on a long road trip.  Whether in a plane or a car, you can review practice questions.  Send me an email about the questions you couldn’t do.  Yes, that offer is good for anybody, not just my current students.  My only requirement is that you use the “Official SAT Study Guide” and/or the “Real ACT Prep Guide.”  That way I have a copy of the books that contain your questions.

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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