SAT Question of the Day & ACT: June 7

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, dco 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 A.  Starting with the topic,  I knew the biologist didn’t want to come across as something negative (fat-headed, smarty-pants, unqualified!).  Then the second part of the sentence was about what she did related to her accomplishments.  Before looking at answers, I predicted she either minimized them or emphasized them.  So, the sentence is either about not wanting to be too self-important or too uninformed.  I got lucky when the answer was A because it fit perfectly with my prediction of her not wanting to be too self-centered so she would not focus on her accomplishments.  I checked out the other answers to make sure A was correct.  None of the other answers fit my prediction.  Using Answer E as an example, she would have emphasized her accomplishments if she was worried about being viewed as incompetent.

Be sure to always determine the topic and then predict answers before looking at the answers.  That strategy will always help you improve your score.

Let’s see what we can do to demystify the ACT. (The ACT staff does not put a date on their questions so if you click on an archived blog, you’ll get today’s question and the old explanation. Sorry. The SAT staff has dated their questions; so, the archive is helpful. The ACT folks simply don’t do that.)

The answer is C.  There are lots of ways to do this question.  If you like to do proportions, take a look at the ACT staff’s explanation.

I know that 24 minutes is slightly than half an hour; so, in a whole hour you would go a little more than 2 times 4.8 miles or 9.6.  That leaves only B and C as possible answers.  Doubling 24 minutes is 48 minutes and I’m 12 minutes short of an hour.  12 is half of the original 24 minutes which means I would go half of 4.8 miles or 2.4.  Adding the 2.4 to 9.6, gives me 12, Answer C.

Another simple way to do it is to see that 24 is 2/5 of an hour.  That means in 1/5 of an hour you would go 2.4 miles.  Multiplying by 5, you get 5 x 2.4 = 12.

One thing to notice is that the ACT and SAT folks use numbers that are easy to manipulate.  (I never use a calculator on either test.)  In this case, if you see that 24 minutes is 2/5 of an hour, it is much easier.  Think about numbers like 5 (1/12 of an hour), 10 minutes is 1/6 of an hour, 12 is 1/5, 15 is 1/4, 20 is 1/3, etc.  Then there are the multiples of these numbers.  In this question, 24 is twice 12 or 2/5.  This is not only a valuable strategy for time but it works for other units as well.  For example, they would likely not give you a question with 5 inches in a foot.  They would use 4 (1/3 or a foot) or 6 (half a foot.)

I wish you well if you are taking the ACT in the morning.  If so, don’t forget to eat properly: granola cereal with Greek yogurt and a banana on top, fruit juice (no high fructose corn syrup), and avoid power drinks and coffee.  Eat nuts and dried fruit for a snack at break–no chocolate.  Drink water or juice.  After the test, treat yourself and go eat your favorite “sin” food: pizza or a nice juicy hamburger with onion rings and a chocolate shake.

Enjoy your day.

The 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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