SAT & ACT Question of the Day: Nov. 25, 2013

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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 E.  Students often consider the Sentence Completion questions a “vocabulary test.”  That’s not entirely the case.  They are also a reasoning test.  Oftentimes, students miss the questions even when they know the vocab words.  So, you need to approach the questions with a specific strategy that will help you avoid missing questions even when you know the meanings of the words.  That is, your reasoning skills sometimes fail you even when you know the words in the question.  Use my approach to these questions and it will help you avoid making silly mistakes.

First, avoid looking at the answers until after step three.

Second, determine the topic of the sentence because these sentences always sound like topic sentences for paragraphs.  Ask yourself, what does this sentence tell me about the missing paragraph for which this is a topic sentence?  In this case, you know that Samantha acts without “considering the consequences” of her behavior.  So, we would expect to read a few examples of of her “reckless actions” in the paragraph.

Third, predict a word or phrase that describes Samantha’s behavior.  Words like impulsively, suddenly, and thoughtlessly come to mind.  Phrases like without thinking and in a hurry also come to mind.  These are all words and phrases you could expect to read in the missing paragraph and, therefore, make good predictions because the right answer is always consistent with the topic of the sentence.

Fourth, find a word that is consistent with your prediction.  Answers A-D sure don’t come close to being consistent with my predictions.  Answers C and D are even the exact opposites of what I’m looking for and Answer A made me smile it was so far off.  That leaves me with E and it works just fine.  Even had I not known what impetuously means, I would get it right by using my prediction to eliminate the other answers.

Fifth, check your choice by reading the sentence using your answer.  Trust your judgment.  Impetuously sounds awfully good to me!

Be sure you always use this strategy that is explained further on my free website and in my online course (Video #2).  Practice using real SAT questions and you’ll see your score improve.

Let’s see what the ACT folks have for us this morning.

ACT Question of the Day: Use your “back” button to return to my website after reading the ACT Question of the Day.

Perfect.  Another example of how important topic sentences are on the SAT and ACT tests.  You have to master them.  They pop up on all the verbal sections of both tests: Reading, Essay, and the Writing/English Tests.

The answer is J.  Check out the next few sentences after the underlined portion of the topic sentence.  There was chaos and broadcasters did whatever they wished, indicating there were no regulations.  That means cause and effect words like because in the original sentence have to be changed.  We need a word that signals a contrast with the beginning of the sentence.  That eliminates F, G, and H and certainly makes Answer J, but, the proper choice.

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If you would like to learn my strategies by watching videos, take a look at my online course.  It is operated by a website that helps support my charity.  There’s a link to it on my homepage.   Thanks.

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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