SAT & ACT Question of the Day: Apr. 13, 2014

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. (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.)

This is a very easy question and just goes to prove that there are going to be a few “warm up” questions at the beginning of each math section.  They will be as easy as they look and provide you with some easy points.  Just be careful and don’t make any silly mistakes.

The answer is B.  The slower train is going half as fast so it will take twice as long, 2 hours.  I’m betting students who missed this question misread it and answered for the how long it would take the faster train.  However, they already told you the faster train took one hour.  Silly mistake.  Be sure to read the questions carefully.  It will often help if you’ll underline the question part of the word problem.  That’s a good strategy to help you focus on the actual question.

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.  Students often “over think” the reading test questions and consequently waste time and talk themselves into wrong answers.  Instead use PICK.  Start with the I and insert the answers and ask yourself, “Does this answer ADD to the passage?”  If so, eliminate it.  Answers G, H, and I all add to the story.  Answer F inserts perfectly; it neither adds to nor disagrees with the passage.  Simple enough.

Isn’t that a lot easier than all that over thinking?

QotD Words of “Wiz-dom”:

Many students panic when they have to take a “standardized” test.  The reality is they are the easiest to prepare for.  Standardized means they’ll always follow the same formats, include the same topics, be the same length, have the same difficulty, etc.  Their predictability and consistency assure that you know what to expect and all you need to do is practice what will be on the test.  That is why I tell my students that they can expect “no surprises on test day.”  How cool is that?

Bob Alexander, the “SAT and ACT Wizard”



Tonight is the “night before the test.” Tomorrow morning hundreds of thousands of students will be taking the ACT. What should they do with their final hours?

First, don’t do any more preparing after dinner. If you don’t know it by then, whatever “it” is, you won’t learn it tonight! Relax. Watch TV, read a book, play a video game. Do something enjoyable. Get your mind off the test and you will sleep better. You need a good night’s sleep.

Second, don’t communicate with anybody! No phone calls, chat rooms, or text messaging. (Smoke signals from the driveway are also to be avoided!) Why do I say that? Nobody is going to tell you anything that can raise your score but you could hear something distressing that will keep you from sleeping and be distracting during the test. For example, a boyfriend (or girlfriend) could call to break up! It has happened. A cousin may want to cry about not getting into any colleges! It has happened. Maybe somebody has died! It has happened. These and many other pieces of “news” could hurt your score. So, relax and don’t communicate with anybody. The news can wait until tomorrow after the test.

Finally, get yourself organized tonight. Lay out your clothes. Put your ticket in the pocket of what you are going to wear. Change the batteries in your calculator. Grab your snack. Sharpen your pencils. Make sure you have your ID. Maybe you need to go shopping to pick up some of the breakfast items I recommended in yesterday’s blog. Make yourself a checklist of everything you need and post it where you can’t miss it (perhaps on the front door). Now that you’ve gotten yourself together, relax and get a good night’s sleep. Don’t forget to set your alarm and ask your parents to make sure you are awake.

Yes, I know it isn’t cool but ask your parents to drive you to the test. Use the ride to do a few “warm up” questions from your practice materials.

Leave for the testing center in plenty of time to be early.

Good luck.

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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