Question of the Day September 2, 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 A.  Tricky, tricky, tricky!  This sentence is about how the woman’s mental state (sense) grew more and more negatively–that’s the topic of the sentence.  And, as always, the topic is the key to finding the correct answer.  She starts out by looking forward to something which leads to the obvious distractor (wrong answer) anticipation since that means to expect something.  So, many students are going to pick that answer–oops.  However, there is a sense of negativity in the sentence that is growing.  That makes Answer A better because foreboding means to be anticipating with a negative feeling.  Therefore, it is better than simply anticipation because it is more consistent with the topic.

Don’t know the word foreboding?  I’m a huge proponent (fan) of prefixes, stems/root words and suffixes.  Learning them is a better use of your time than just memorizing vocabulary words because you learn families of words and develop the skill of analyzing words to determine their meaning.  For example, fore means forward, forth, or into the future.  Bode is an omen with a sense of fear.

You can go to and play with their “morpheme” section.  (You will see it in the top, left-hand corner of the home page.  It will help and is about as fun and motivating as rote memorization can get!!)

I wonder what the ACT folks have in store for us today. (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, their archive is helpful. The ACT folks simply don’t do that.)

The answer is G.  The test writers provide a nice explanation for this answer.  That’s a breath of fresh air!

What you can learn from this sentence that they don’t tell you, however, is that their “directions” for this section of the test are seriously flawed!  They tell you to read the whole passage and then return to do the questions.  Shame on them.  First of all, those directions aren’t directions at all–they are advice.  And, it is terrible advice at that.  Never do that.  You can usually get the right answer just by reading the sentence that contains the underlined word or phrase.  In some less common cases. you have to read a sentence or two immediately surrounding the underlined material, as you do in this case.  Rarely, you’ll need several sentences or a paragraph to answer the question.  But you’ll never need a whole passage.

Here’s the best way to handle the English Test: simply start reading the passage and answer the questions as you come to them.  Disregard their advice that arrives in the guise of directions.  End of story.  It will speed you up and raise your score.

Relax and enjoy your day.  I’ll be thinking about you while I walk on the beach!!



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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