Question of the Day: June 2

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, dco 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.)

First, let me talk about yesterday’s SAT exam.  I received some reports that it seemed “easier” than previous tests and I hope that was due to tutoring and practice.  If, in fact, it was actually easier, that does not mean your score will be higher!!  The test is scored on a “curve.”  So, if it was easier, it will take more right answers on the June test to get the same score as on a harder test.  Not to worry–if you take a “harder” test, then the curve helps you the other way.  It takes fewer correct responses to get a higher score.  In other words, everything balances because the scores are adjusted based on the difficulty level of the tests.  (Take a look at the scoring charts for the first three tests in the “Official SAT Study Guide” and you’ll see what I mean.)

The answer is A.  The non-underlined words set the stage for reviewing the underlined words and everything has to be made consistent with the non-underlined part of the sentence.  The verb “put” is in the past tense; therefore, the verb “has not” (which is present perfect tense) needs to be changed to “had not” (past perfect tense).

Check out my list of errors that is categorized by parts of speech.  It will help you focus on how to attack this question format.

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 F.  Idioms are tricky and this is a perfect example.  Some estimates indicate there are over 25,000 expressions in the English language that change the standard literal meaning of words into a figure of speech!  Those are idioms and they are especially tough on people who are learning English (or other languages because they occur in practically all languages).

For this question, “lined up” is just fine because it is such a phrase.  No, I’m not pulling your leg (another idiom)!  And you shouldn’t be adding fuel to the fire (another one) by making the ACT any harder than it already is.  If you are interested in seeing a list of common idioms, you can find them on the Internet.

I hope you have a great 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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