SAT Question of the Day & ACT QotD May 11

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 A.  For Sentence Completion questions, always 1) figure out the topic, 2) use key words and phrases, 3) apply internal punctuation (commas, semicolons, etc.), and then 4) make a prediction for the blank(s) prior to looking at the answers.

In this case, we have two predictions to make.  The topic of the sentence is about “accuracy.”  So, I predicted “careful” attention for the first blank and “checked” every statement for the second blank.   Now let’s save some time.  Use one of your two predictions to eliminate some of the answers.  Pick the one that you think is the better prediction, I liked “careful.”  Looking at the first word for each answer, I eliminated B, C, and D immediately.  A really looked good and E was suspect but I left it in.  Now I only had two answers, A and E, to check for the second word–that’s why it saves time.  Now answer E makes no sense because the topic of the sentence is about accuracy and “exaggerating” her informant’s statements wouldn’t make any sense.  That leaves A.

Finding the topic, making predictions, and using one blank at a time were the keys to getting this question correct and doing it quickly.  Vocabulary certainly helped.  Go to work on learning word parts or morphemes.  That effort will certainly pay off on test day.

Let’s see what the ACT folks have up their sleeves this morning. (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.)

Gosh, I really don’t like this format.  It is called a “triple true-false” or “Roman Numeral” question.  You have to answer three questions to get one point.  If you have trouble finishing on time, I recommend you skip it and come back to it after you’ve finished the other questions.

The answer is B.  My strategy of eliminating answers that add to the story makes quick work of the question, at least as quick as possible.  Roman Numerals I and III add to the passage and can be eliminated.

I based my answer on the beginning of the paragraph about “ordeals,” lines 36-38.  After describing trials by “compurgation,” the passage explains when “ordeals” were used.  It tells us “for more serious crimes,” implying compurgation was used for less serious crimes.  That statement supports Roman Numeral II.  Roman Numeral I adds to the story.  III is a “half truth.”  Ordeals were for peasants but there is no mention of “bad reputation.”  So, that adds to the story and can be eliminated, leaving us with II only, answer B.  After doing this question, I feel like I’ve been through a trial by ordeal!

Hey, it’s Saturday.  Do something enjoyable.  Do something useful for yourself.  Do something to make another person’s day brighter.  That would be a complete day.


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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