SAT Question of the Day & ACT QotD May 3

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.  This is a very popular issue with the SAT (and ACT) test writers: pronoun/antecedent agreement.  It is also a perfect example of their typical subterfuge which puts the pronoun a long way after its noun.  Canoe came at the beginning of the sentence and they came very late.  On top of that, they introduced a plural noun, materials, just before the pronoun which complicates things even further.

How do you prepare to avoid their trick of putting the pronoun and antecedent so far apart? Refer to page 92 in the DVD student manual or take a look at the “Editing Questions” part of my online SAT/ACT course.  I have given you a list of the common mistakes that show up on the tests.  For example, it tells you if a pronoun is underlined, you need to 1) check the antecedent, 2) check whether it is singular or plural, and 3) check the form/case.  Doing so will help you to quickly find mistakes, fix them (if necessary), and raise your score.

Let’s move on to see what we can learn about “out-tricking” the tricksters who write the ACT questions. (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 J.  Gosh, the test is easy.  Just memorize my list of characteristics of right and wrong answers; there are only five of them.  Using the “Wizard’s Checklist,” eliminates the wrong answers:  1) inserting the wrong answers adds to the passage, 2) they are not consistent with the main idea, and 3) they disagree with information in the passage.  Answer J doesn’t do any of these things.  So, circle it in the test booklet, then bubble it in on the answer sheet and move on.

This is a question that reminds me of a major difference between the SAT and ACT.  It is unusual for the ACT test to give you a line reference as part of the questions (certainly less than half and usually about 33% of the time).  The SAT very commonly gives you line references (about 85% of the time).  Obviously line references help speed you up.  If you find that finishing on time when you take a reading test is a challenge, you should be doing a practice SAT test or two to determine if you have less difficulty finishing it on time.

Have a great day and be sure to remember to let me know how things go if you take the SAT this weekend.  I’m especially interested in knowing if you found my blog useful for raising your score.  Thanks, in advance, for the feedback.


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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