SAT & ACT Question of the Day: Oct. 17, 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.  The topic of the sentence guided by key words and phrases leads to a prediction of words that are have opposite meanings.  The topic is about what Suzette’s parents and teachers thought about her work.  The key word is although which signals a change in direction, so we are predicting two words that are the opposite of one another.  The only pair of words among the answers that are the opposite of one another is “brilliant … unremarkable.”

The thing to learn from this question is that the SAT Sentence Completion questions are very predictable because it is a standardized test.  The sentences will always be topic sentences from paragraphs and the right answers will always sound like words that belong somewhere in the paragraph.  That is, right answers will be consistent with the topic.  So, if you focus on the topic of the sentence and predict words for the blanks before looking at the answers, you won’t be attracted to and fall for their distractors (wrong answers).  Practice this wizardly strategy and watch your score improve.

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 B.  This question is sure an easy way to start the day.  You can do it a couple of ways.  The ACT folks give you one way.  They show you the “math teacher” way or how to turn the math crank.  That’s a simple and straightforward way to do it.

You could also have just looked at the answers.  The coordinates in the answers must add up to 5 since x+y=5.  B, (-2,7) is the only one that works.  For some of you, that will be an easier, faster way to do this question.  Others will like to do it the “math teacher” way which is how the questions are always explained by ACT (and SAT) staff.

This question sure was gentle on you.  When I was a test writer, I would have had at least one attractive distractor that wouldn’t have made this question so easy.  Since you know x+y=5, I would have had at least one answer for which the coordinates added up to five, e.g., (1,4).  Another good one would have been (2,-7) and had answer E be “more than one of the above.”  Those answers would have made this question trickier.  That’s why I want you to study the wrong answers; successful test prep is as much about what to avoid as it is about the right answers.  My videos and website teach you their tricks and my strategies that are designed to avoid their distractors.  Watch your score improve.

I heard from some students yesterday that they didn’t see anything on the PSAT they weren’t expecting.  My guarantee of “no surprises on test day” paid off for them.  I also heard from a principal of a school where I conducted a workshop — her students were smiling during the test because they were expecting those questions.  I hope the PSAT went as well for you.  Keep practicing: the ACT and SAT will be here before you know it and there will be no surprises for you either.

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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