SAT & ACT Question of the Day: May 6, 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.)

Reading this blog is 10% about learning how to answer today’s questions and 90% learning how to apply strategies and analyze questions you may see on test day.

The answer is D.  Parallel structures are a test writer favorite.  In this case, the infinitive “to use” is not underlined; therefore, the next verb has to be an infinitive.  “Achieving” is wrong; it should be the infinitive “to achieve.”

If you are looking for a solid review of grammar, take a look at  It covers parallel structures and all the other common grammar errors that show up on the SAT and ACT tests.

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.  When they give you variables and don’t give you numbers, just make numbers up!  Let’s say that n = 100 students.  (When working with percentages, that’s an easy number to play with.)  Let’s say that p% = 40% or 40 .  (Note p is not .4!  It is the integer that precedes the % symbol.)   If we have those numbers instead of n and p, we can easily do the math in our heads and see that 100 – 40 or 60 students play NO musical instrument.  That would be the right answer if we had those numbers instead of the variables n and p .

Now we simply plug our numbers into the answers and see which one would be 60!  For example, Answer A becomes 100 times 40 which is 4000.  4000 doesn’t equal our answer of 60; so, it’s wrong.  Keep plugging in 100 for n and 40 for p and you’ll find Answer C works just fine: [(100 – 40)100]/100 = 60.    How easy was that?

Did you notice that we used Pillar II: Restate the Given Information?  We restated or replaced their variables with our numbers.  That sure makes this question a snap.

QotD Words of “Wiz-dom”:

When I train teachers, I start off by explaining the power of “hope.”  When there is hope, students will try.  That effort equates to practice.  In turn, practice increases confidence.   And confidence raises scores.

However, you have to make sure your confidence is well-founded.  It cannot be false confidence.  You need to practice questions that are at the right difficulty level to achieve your goal.  Of course, you have to get those questions consistently correct.  If you don’t, get help!

If you want to know how to personalize your approach to the tests, just send an email and I’ll help you design your study plan.  Executing your plan (the will to win!) is what will raise your confidence and improve your score.

Bob Alexander, the “SAT and 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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