Question of the Day: SAT & ACT May 24

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.  The clauses that come before and after the comma are “independent clauses” that can stand alone as individual sentences.  So, what we have here is a “comma splice” because the two clauses have to be joined together in a different way: 1) you could use a semi-colon, 2) you could use a conjunction like “and,” or 3) you could put a period in place of the comma which would create two sentences.  However, you aren’t given one of those choices!  Eeks.  What do you do now?

To fix this sentence, you would have to change one of the two clauses so that it isn’t “independent.”  Your only option is to get rid of “them” and substitute “which.”  “Which” is a relative pronoun and requires an antecedent (noun that it represents) in the sentence.  Of course, for this question format you didn’t actually have to fix it; you just needed to identify the error.  (Did you notice how the Wizard cleverly incorporated a compound sentence (two independent clauses) to end his explanation and used a semi-colon?)

Let’s move on to 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 F.  As always, the answer is in the information you are given.  The tables tell you the shadow direction and length varied.  The narrative information tells you the data was collected on different days.  That means that the length of the exposed stick is always the same which you are also told directly.

Keep in mind that the Science Reasoning Test is exactly that — a reasoning, not knowledge, test.  Don’t prepare by trying to review science information; they give you everything you need to know in the test booklet.  You should prepare by practicing reading charts and graphs.  I recommend you get a copy of “The Real ACT Prep Guide” and do the science sections.  Those provide actual charts and graphs as well as questions that were on previous ACT tests.  They are a great source for predicting what kind of materials you’ll be seeing on test day.

Have a great day.  I hope your finals are going well and you are spending some time each day getting ready for them.  Summer is coming.  I hope you use it wisely.

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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