SAT & ACT Question of the Day: Jan. 31, 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.)

The answer is B.  This is a perfect example of using my mantra:  1)  What did the test writers tell me? and 2) What do I know because they told me that?  You know x is a perfect square because its square root is 16.  (x = 196 but it isn’t important in this case; so, don’t start wasting a lot of time dealing with that knowledge.)  4 is also a perfect square.  You also know that you have to factor all perfect squares that are under the radical sign.  The square root of 4 is 2 (derived information).  The square root of x is 16 (given information).  2 times 16 is 32, Answer B.

Did you know that the test writers never give you extra math information in a question?  They are allowed to but as a practical matter they don’t.  (Other than extra information that sometimes appears on a graph, chart, table, etc., I’ve only seen two questions since 1995, that had extra math information in them.)  You can take advantage of their pattern of only including required information on test day.  If you are stuck on a problem, then you need to ask yourself, “What did they tell me that I’m not using?”  The trick is to convert the given information into derived information that will answer the question.  For more details about this issue, refer to Videos #401 and #402.  Then get to work and practice!

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 C.

You need to learn and practice my PICK strategy. The I stands for insertable and is used to eliminate answers that add to or disagree with the passage. P and C are used to eliminate wrong answers for other reasons. K stands for “know.” You’ll KNOW the right answer when you use PIC!

For this question, if you insert Answer A, it will disagree with the passage because she also wears the hat inside. Answer B adds because the author never tells us that.  Answer D adds because there is no evidence that she has a unique taste in clothing. That leaves Answer C which is perfectly insertable; it neither adds to nor disagrees with the passage.  It inserts very neatly in lines 24-26 without either adding to or disagreeing with the passage.

The C in PICK stands for “consistent.” Answers must be consistent with the context of the passage and you’ll also notice “consistent” and “insertable” work together as a team to help you choose the right answer. If an answer is consistent, it must also be insertable. Answer C  is very consistent with the content while the other answers are not.

PICK is a very powerful strategy for test day because it works with all the reading questions on both the ACT and SAT tests. Don’t waste time with over-analyzing the answers because doing so often leads to choosing wrong answers!

I had a great time at IRSC last night.  It was a wonderful crowd.  Thanks for coming out in the rain!  I’m looking forward to some sunshine today.

Enjoy your weekend.

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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