May 25 Question of the Day: SAT & ACT

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 C.  This is certainly another case of the test writer’s explanation being more complicated and confusing than the question.  They certainly make the question sound more difficult than it is (by far)!  After you read their explanation, read mine.

All 416 people own a dog, a cat or both.  280 are “cat owners;” so, they either own only a cat or both a cat and a dog.  Just subtract 280 from 416 and you’ll get the number of people who don’t own a cat!  That’s 136, Answer C.

Why do the SAT people make it so hard?  I don’t have a clue.  I can only guess.

Let’s see what we can do to “demystify” the ACT. (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 C.  It is the least offensive of the answers!  Generally, the ACT and SAT test writers want you to eliminate idioms.  For this question, the ACT folks tell you the right answer is “the most idiomatically standard usage.”  OMG!  Usually you have to pick the “best” answer and in this case it is the “least bad” answer which makes it the “best.”  That’s way too confusing for a Saturday.

Now that we know that the test writers sometimes obfuscate how simple the tests really are, let me encourage you to keep reading my blog each day since I attempt to simplify, not complicate, the tests for you.

I hope you do something productive with part of your day.  You’ve already done a little of that by reading my blog.  Do a little more and don’t forget to have some fun.

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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