SAT Question of the Day (ACT as well!): Oct. 21, 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 D.  Isn’t it wonderful that the SAT and ACT are both so predictable because they are standardized tests?  That predictability allows us to prepare for the tests and I can tell you that if you’ll follow the strategies in my program, “you will see no surprises on test day.”  In this case, the test writer’s consistent assessment of parallel structures helped get the correct answer.

Watch for sentences that use non-parallel structures.  This sentence says “grows to about seven inches,” and “it grows to about six inches.”  Oops!  There’s no need for the word it.   Use Ms. Murphy’s strategy of reading the sentence without extraneous phrases, clauses, and words.  You wouldn’t say, “…the largest American type it grows to…”  You know that you don’t need the pronoun it.   That means there are really two reasons for D to be the answer.  One is non-parallel structure and the other is the use of a pronoun when it isn’t needed.

Check out the list of grammar errors that is in my manual “Demystifying the SAT and ACT” and on my website.  It lists these two mistakes and many others that you should watch for on the test.  The test writers use the same errors consistently and you should be prepared to identify them.

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.  There are a couple of ways to do this question.  Read the ACT staff’s explanation and you can see how to use the basic Pythagorean Identity.  I happen to think that is a little more complicated and fraught with possible silly mistakes.  So, I used a simpler approach using the Pythagorean Theorem itself and only a little trig.

Using SOHCAHTOA was much easier for me.  (Refer to Video #10 or the ACT Math section of my website.) The sine of A is 10/13 which means the opposite side is 10 and the hypotenuse is 13 because the sine is equal to the opposite/hypotenuse (SOH).  A quick application of the Pythagorean Theorem (a + b2 = c2 or c2 – a2 = b2) means 132 – 102 = 169 -100 = 69.  The square root of 69 is the length of the adjacent side.  The adjacent/hypotenuse (CAH) is the cosine; therefore, √69/13, which is answer F .  All done.

If you are going to take the ACT this coming weekend, this question is a good reminder that you’ll be seeing 4 trig questions out of the 60 math questions you’ll see on the test.  (This is another example of the predictability of standardized tests!)  Usually 2 are easier than this one and involve the basic trig functions and using SOHCAHTOA (and their reciprocals) will get them right.  The other two will be a little more difficult and you’ll likely need to be able to use the Pythagorean Identity (like this one), the “unit circle,” or even sine waves.  Be sure to review this material before Saturday.  You’ll find it on my website, in Demystifying the SAT & ACT,  and Video #10.

When playing a game it is always helpful to understand how your opponent plays.  Solid test prep will help you know in advance (predict!) what you’ll be seeing on the test and what strategies you’ll need to employ to conquer what you’ll be seeing.  The rest is up to you.  Practice what you are taught.  Best of luck!  (Of course you know what luck is.   “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity!”)  My students are always saying that the more they prepare the luckier they get on test day.  I agree.

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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