Question of the Day: September 13, 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 E.  Good luck with relying on your calculator when you try to answer this question!  It might as well be in your backpack under your desk.  That’s what you should learn about the test from this question–calculators are for calculating, not for answering questions.  The reasoning and thinking is up to you.

The test writers explanation certainly works but I did it a different way.  The test writer asks for “the largest possible value” and we know that is a signal to use the answers; one of them has to be the correct answer.  I also know (and you’ll learn in my program) that the test writers use numbers that are easy to work with.  Because we are asked to divide exponents, I’m looking for a multiple of 7 because that’s the power of 50 in question; so, let’s start there.  Oh, look!  Answer B is 7 and E is 14 and they want the “largest.”  Well, duh, let’s start with C and figure out if it works.  All this thinking took about 3 seconds.  With practice you can do that too.

Now let’s see if 514 works. 507/514 = (2 X 25)7/514.  25 is 5-squared and 52 to the 7th power (outside the parentheses) is 514. Because they each have a 5 to the 14th power in them, I know they divide evenly. This is a similar process to the test writer’s explanation but I think it is quicker.

Another way to look at it is to see if there’s a 5 to the 14th power in 507.  I can see that 50 = 25 x 2. 25 is 52. 5-squared to the 7th power is 514, so, I’m all done. That was fast.

Here’s something else you should know about the test that is very important.  Most students taking the test shouldn’t even worry about whether they can get this question right or not!  Don’t let it stress you.  Why do I know that?  Only 38% of almost 11,000 students have gotten it right.  That means it is a difficult question and will come late in the math section.  I’m estimating it will be in the last 10% of the questions.  Do you need a 650 or better?  Most students don’t.  If your target score is less than 650 you can skip or miss this question and still get your score.  Why fool with it?  It will only stress you out.

Keep in mind that this isn’t school.  Most students don’t have to do all the questions on the test to achieve their goals.  Spend your time on the questions you need to do and check your work rather than try to get a question like this correct.  Remember–all questions are worth 1 point no matter how hard they are.

Let’s see what the ACT folks have for us today.

ACT Question of the Day: Use your “back” button to return to my website after reading the ACT Question of the Day.

If I see this question one more time, I’m going to cut down the forest!  C’mon guys, get some new materials.  Certainly you have more old tests hidden in your closets that you can use for your ACT Question of the Day.

The answer is G.  As always, use the charts and graphs to answer the question.  You could never have predicted this or any other science that might be on the test; so, reviewing scientific knowledge is a waste of time.

Use my reading strategy, PICK.  F adds to the passage, H disagrees, and J disagrees.  All done.

Here’s my point.  The “Science” test isn’t a science knowledge test.  It’s a science reading test.  The information you’ll need is right in the test booklet.  Just practice my techniques for eliminating wrong answers on the Reading test and apply them to the Science test.  You’ll be fine.

Don’t let any black cats cross your path today! ;-)




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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