SAT & ACT Question of the Day: Dec. 11, 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 B.  One of the issues that comes up on the SAT and ACT test in a number of ways is the difference between commas and semicolons.  Because there is a comma in this sentence, we need to have a dependent relative (adjectival) clause that modifies “songs.”  Had there been a semicolon rather than the the comma, we could have left it the way it was originally: two independent clauses.

Another section on the test for which semicolons are valuable is the Essay Section.  You will be scored in part based on your use of a variety of sentence structures.  Be sure you include at least one compound sentence using a semicolon because they are used to link two independent clauses.  Doing so will earn you some brownie points with the test scorers!

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.  It is the only answer that connects the idea in the previous sentence regarding, “storied battles fought and won in ages past,” with the references to knights in the following sentences.  Hank Aaron selected his “lance” and Mickey Mantle used a “sword.”  The other answers provide a clear break in the parallel between knights and baseball players.

Use today’s questions to see the major difference between the SAT Writing Test and the ACT English Test.  The multiple-choice questions on the SAT are almost all related to a single sentence that require you to either identify or fix a grammar or composition error.  The ACT provides passages that you have to edit.  Some students prefer one format over the other.  You need to try both tests to see if one provides you an advantage of one format over the other.  You can get free released tests from your school’s counseling office or on the College Board and ACT websites.

Be sure when you take the ACT that you avoid following their deceptive “directions” regarding how to approach the English Test.  They tell you to read the entire passage and then return and do the questions.  That isn’t even “directions;” it is test-taking advice.  It is even bad advice.  Doing it that way will slow you down considerably.  Just start reading the passage and as you get to underlined questions, do them.  The large majority of the questions can be answered without any context from the rest of the passage.  Look at the other questions in today’s passage and you’ll see what I mean.   In short, don’t follow their directions regarding reading the whole passage before answering the questions, it will almost certainly hurt your score.

Thank a teacher today for all the things he or she does for you.  It will brighten his/her day as well as yours!

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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