Question of the Day: SAT & ACT May 14

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 Sentence Completion question appears to be pretty hard; only 40% of over 36,000 students have gotten it right!  However, if you use my strategy, you will have a better chance of getting it correct.  As always, ask yourself, “What is the topic?”  The poetry “conveys and impression of … routine feelings…”   So, I predicted “routine feelings” for the blank.  Only “triteness” comes close to that prediction.  If you had trouble with the vocab, how many of the words did you know?  Did you know enough that you could have eliminated some that didn’t mean “routine feelings” so that you could make an educated guess?  How many do you need to eliminate before guessing?  It only takes eliminating one before you should guess!  Certainly you know at least one of these words.  That’s how to successfully play the game.  Keep practicing and watch your score increase.

Let’s see what magic we can do with 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 K.  This is an unusual answer because the correct answer is rarely “cannot be determined.”  When it is an answer, probability would say it should be right 1 out of 5 times, 20%.  While I’ve never counted them since it is an unusual answer to begin with, based on my experience, it is right considerably less than 20% of the time.  That is what makes it tricky when it is the right answer.

I hope you’ve memorized the formula for calculating the area of a triangle and all the other math that is on my website and DVD for the ACT.  You need to know the base and height of the triangle to answer the question.  They tell you the base but you don’t have a way of calculating the height.  Just knowing the sides AB and AC are equal doesn’t tell you anything about the height.  Keep in mind that the ACT figures are not drawn to scale!  (SAT figures are drawn to scale unless you are told otherwise.)  So, you can’t calculate the area and are all done.

Have a great day.


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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