Question of the Day August 30, 2013

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 B.  This is an uncommonly easy question.  77% of students have gotten it correct as of 6:00am Eastern Time.  As always, I figured out the topic of the sentence and made predictions for the blanks PRIOR to looking at the answers.  The second blank is about “hoping to strike it rich.”  So, it’s all about getting money.  Looking at the answers, only “greedy” works, answer B.  To make sure I’m right, I put “frivolous” into the first blank and it worked because “bogus claims” means they weren’t real or  they were fake.  Only frivolous makes sense.

What I want you to learn about the SAT from this question is the right answer is always consistent with the topic of the sentence.  Think of the sentence as a topic sentence for a paragraph.  The right word or words will always be ones you would expect to see in the paragraph based on that topic.

There are more “Words of Wiz-dom” about Sentence Completion questions on Video #2.

I wonder what the ACT folks have in store 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, their archive is helpful. The ACT folks simply don’t do that.)

The answer is K.  The test writer does a fine job of explaining the “math teacher way” and there’s nothing wrong with doing that; it just takes a long time and this test is timed.  I believe if you do either the SAT or the ACT questions the math teacher way for all the questions, you had better be awfully good at math or you’ll never finish on time.

I did this question in about 3 seconds.  There are both positive and negative values that can be inside the “absolute value” bars.  (Sorry I can’t draw them, so I use a capital I.)  I-4I has the same value as I+4I.  They both equal 4.  So in this case there’s a value of y that is a reflection around x=7.  What else do you know that makes this question much simpler?  The “absolute value” of any number has to be positive.  So, y is always going to be positive for this equation.  Only the graph for Answer K has positive values for y for any value of x!

It is the second principle that I used to get focused on Answer K and then saw the reflection about x=7.  Very often you just need to read the graph and not do much, if any, math.

This is a special school year for me.  It has been exactly 50 years since I was a senior and graduated in 1964.  If I could turn back the clock, one of the things I would do differently is to remember to thank the people in my life who helped me along the way.  Keep them in mind: parents, teachers, counselors, friends, coaches, ministers, etc.  When was the last time you thanked any of these people?  A few seconds can really brighten somebody’s life.

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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