SAT Question of the Day (& ACT): Mar. 7, 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.)

The answer is D.  You need to become familiar with the common grammar and composition errors that show up on the SAT Writing Test.  You will find a list in my program on my free website and on the Video 900 Series.  Let’s use that list to answer this question.

First, you will see a verb underlined, “including,” and you need to check to see if it is in the correct form.  No it isn’t.  The subject of the sentence, “variety,” is singular and that means we need a singular verb; change “including” to “includes.”  Now let’s be strategic about how we use that change to get us closer to the correct answer and save time.  Take a look at the answers and you’ll see that we are now down to Answers C and D because they are the only ones that have “includes” in them.

Second, looking at the rest of the underlined part of the sentence and the two remaining answers, you see that you have to decide between putting the comma before  or after “and”.  You also need to decide whether to use “it depends” or “depending.”  Logically the comma comes after “and” because it sets off the clause, “depending on the ethnic…”  You never include the conjunction (and) inside the dependent clause.  That alone will give you the right answer, D.   However, you don’t need a whole new independent clause with its own subject and verb as in Answer C.  It is much easier to use depending.  This second step just helps us support our original choice of Answer D.

The key to getting this question correct is starting with knowing what to look for in the underlined words.  Learn what the test writers’ common errors are and you’ll know where to begin and not only get more questions correct but also become faster at taking the test.

I wonder if the ACT folks have something new 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.

They have an easy one for us today.

The answer is K.  Always start math questions by asking, “What did they tell me and what do I know because they told me that?”  They told you the width is 3 and the length is twice as long as the width.  Therefore, you know the length is 6.  The area is length times width or 6 times 3.  The answer is 18.

The value of this question is to focus on the strategy I teach for doing math word problems.  The SAT and ACT test writers so rarely give you extra information in the word problem that you must be sure to use everything they give you.  Treat all the information as critical.  Then they don’t directly give you the actual information you need to answer the question; you have to derive it.  For example, in this question you needed the length but they didn’t give it to you.  You had to derive or calculate it from the given information which was the length is twice the width of 3.

Yes, I know this question is rather simple but do you realize you need to use the same strategy on the other word problems?  Most students don’t.  Keep the process or strategy you used on this easy question in mind when you encounter more difficult questions on the SAT and ACT.  Use it to attack them.  Just remember the key to word problems is to use the given information to derive the information you need to answer the question.

Tomorrow is SAT Day for hundreds of thousands of students.  If you are among them, be sure you eat the proper breakfast tomorrow morning.  Stay away from eggs, cheese, greasy meat and breads.  Include granola, yogurt, bananas, fruit juice, and protein (sliced ham or chicken with no breading) in your breakfast.  The difference in those two meals can make a big difference in your score.

I wish you the best of luck.  Send me an email and let me know how things went.  I’ll bet you that you won’t see any surprises if you have completed my program.  That’s my promise, “No surprises on test day!”

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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