Question of the Day: September 16, 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.  This question is harder for students than I would have thought.  Less than half are getting it right.  So let’s begin by thinking about Pillar VI: Don’t Be Intimidated by the Seemingly Difficult.  Also, one of my favorite math strategies will help immensely in reducing the difficulty.  “The world of math is a world of patterns.”

You can see that the question makes the exponent (or power) of x three times as big because 1/3 becomes 1.  That means to keep things equal the exponent of y has to become three times as big; so, 2 has to become 6.  All done.

What must be making it difficult is that we are starting with a fraction.  What would you have done if the original equation only involved integers for the exponents?  For example, x2 = y3.  If the exponent for x would be tripled to become 6, wouldn’t you need to triple the exponent of y to become 9?

You may find it easier to think about this if you had numbers rather than variables.  Because an exponent of 1/3 means the cube root, let’s think of a number that has a cube root that is also a square and substitute for x and y.  I thought of 64 because it is much easier to do this when everything is an integer although you could do it using any numbers–the world of math is a world of patterns.  If x=64, its cube root is 4 making the left side of the original equation 4.  That would make y=2 because y squared has to equal 4 as well.  Look at the answers.  Which power of 2 (or y) is equal to 64?  6.  You are all done.

This is the strategy I call, “change the abstract to the concrete,” or “change the algebra to arithmetic.”  We can do this since the “world of math is a world of patterns.”

I have to thank the SAT folks for this question, because we are discussing this strategy in class this week.  See how useful it is?

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.

The answer is F.  Line 67 indicates Mary and the narrator are sitting and watching the sunset.  During their conversation Mary indicates that Papa (Mr. Curley) and everyone else cried; so, the crying happened before the two of them were talking and watching the sunset.

G is silly because Mrs. Sennett’s pronouncement that she won’t be staying with the children causes Mr. Curley to cry.  He wouldn’t have cried before that.  It is not consistent.

H adds to the story and J disagrees with the facts.

The “Wizard’s Checklist” makes this an easy question once you find the right part of the story that provides the information you need.  Take a look at Video #3 to learn how to use the PICK strategy.  It will make you a much better test taker because it easily eliminates wrong answers and increases your speed.

Another fine fall week is starting.  Enjoy.

The SAT & ACT 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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