SAT Question of the Day (& ACT!): Nov. 19, 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.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you should have the strategy under control.  (Also refer to Video #3.)  Start with determining the topic.  In this example it is how art is a frill or veneer.   That is, it is an extra (frill) and shallow (veneer).  The topic of sentence tells us art is not essentialPredict an answer that means not essential or an extra.  Now let’s look at the answers and find a word that reflects the topic.  Answer D, luxury is it.

Answers B, C, E are awfully good distractors.  Art certainly could be considered a hallmark (B), a record (C), or a depiction (E) of a civilization and these sound like good answers.  That’s why so many students are missing this question (over 60%).  Let’s use this question to become better test takers.

You need to use this question to learn something very important about the test–often the vocabulary isn’t what makes the question hard; its the reasoning that is required by the test question.  These distractors (wrong answers) are not especially difficult words.  They just are attractive responses if you don’t use my strategy of focusing on the topic and making a prediction.  That’s why determining the topic is so important.  The answer will always be consistent with the topic. 

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.

The answer is A.   Use the PICK strategy.  (Refer to Video #4.)  Insert the answers and eliminate the ones that don’t fit.   Answers B, C, and D either add to the passage or disagree with what you are told.  Eliminate them.  That leaves A.  Circle it in the test booklet.  Bubble it in on the answer sheet.  Move on.

I was working with a student yesterday who reads well enough to get a fine score on the SAT and ACT.  However, he was missing a lot of questions because he didn’t know words that showed up in the questions and answers.  He is an example of how vocabulary becomes important in ways you may not have considered.  When you are practicing, there is something you can do that will improve your score if this stumbling block applies to you.  When practicing, you should highlight words that you don’t recognize in the questions and answers.  Then develop flashcards or a vocabulary list and learn those words.  For example, in today’s question, if you don’t know infer, well-being, literary figures, and narrator, you’ll have a difficult time with this question.  These terms aren’t so bad but often you’ll see abstruse (!?) words.  Get to work and raise your score.

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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