Mar 9 SAT & ACT 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.)

If you are on your way to taking the SAT this morning, take 5 minutes, if possible, to watch my reading and math YouTube videos that are linked on my home page.  If you only have time to watch one, watch the reading one as a final reminder of the best reading strategy for finding the best answer.

Today’s question is a great reminder of how to do the SAT Sentence Completion questions.

The answer is A.  Begin by asking, “What’s the topic?”  The subject of the sentence is unhappy.  Then predict a word (or words) for the blank(s).  You can even use words that are in the sentence.  I used “unhappy.”  Now let’s go find an answer that means unhappy.  Use  your prediction to eliminate words when you don’t recognize the right word.  The key to the strategy is that the right answer must be consistent with the topic.

Let’s see what the ACT folks are up to 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.)

Here’s a great thing to know about the ACT Science Test.  Never do the 7 passages in the order they appear in your test booklet.  There are three formats and you should do them in the order that the formats are quickest and easiest.  One format simply requires you to read charts, graphs and figures.  There are three of them among the 7 passages and they are quickest to do.  So, scan through the Science Test, find them, and do them first.  Then find the three passages that describe experiments or studies.  Do them second.  Finally, do the passage that portrays two disputing or disagreeing scientists.  It takes much longer per question than the first two formats.  Skip it and do it last.  This strategy will help you get to the most questions in the time allowed.

If it wasn’t for the new students who start reading my blog each week, I’d quit writing about the ACT questions that have appeared previously.  Doesn’t the ACT staff understand that students will quit reading their Question of the Day if they don’t start using new material each day?  Maybe they are celebrating the fact that there were more students who took their test last year than who took the SAT.  Sorry for the rant.  Let’s look at their question.

The answer is C.  You can see from Figure 1 that at the end of 100 years the pine trees seem to disappear or at least significantly decrease.  The oak and hickory trees take over the forest.

The real challenge here and in the rest of the ACT Science Test is speed.  You must do these questions quickly or you’ll run out of time if you need to finish all of the questions.  However, maybe you’ve set a target score that only requires you to do 5 or 6 of the science passages.  That will give you more time per question and you can still be successful.  What is your target score?  What?  You don’t have one?  Do it now.  Email me if you need help setting one.

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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