SAT Question of the Day & ACT QotD May 5

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.  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.

For this sentence, we see the topic of the sentence is about how physicians and patients are “captivated” by high technology.  Then the comma signals us that high technology is defined by what we are told after the comma  (computer-designed drugs and laser surgery).  The really important thing is to pick up on the topic of the sentence which is that people are captivated and we need to predict a word for the blank that is consistent with the fact that people really like technology.  I predicted “captivated by.”  That’s right–often it is very easy to predict a word that is already in the sentence because that word indicates the topic of the sentence.  However, you could have predicted a different word like “attracted to” or a phrase like “really interested in.”

After predicting a word or phrase, we look at the answers to find a synonym or word that is consistent with our prediction.  For this question, the four wrong answers sure don’t mean any of those things and students would usually know their meanings.  The right answer “enamored of” is left over after eliminating the other four even if you don’t know what it means!

Let me tell you the best way to build your vocabulary: learn morphemes!  Study and memorize word parts.  For example, “en” means “in” and “amor” means “love.” Enamored means “in love.”  That’s a great word for “captivated.”  By learning morphemes, you are learning families of words instead of memorizing the meaning of one word.  I have all my Latin teachers to thank for that little trick.  (Amo means “to love” in Latin.)

Let’s hop over to the ACT website and see what they have for us 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.)

The answer is J.  If you wish, go ahead and read the very detailed and lengthy explanation the ACT folks give you this morning.  However, Ms. Murphy would have said, “shorter is better.”  “Strong enough” is shorter than the original “strong enough for.”  And “for” doesn’t make any sense anyway.  G is also nonsensical.  How can you compare your will and your dream?  H is an adverb, strongly, which can’t modify the noun “will.”

I hope you didn’t follow the ACT  “directions” for doing this question.  They tell you to read the whole passage before answering any question!  Why bother?  You just should go straight to the underlined words and read the sentence in which they occur.  You may have to read an adjoining sentence or two but you never need to read the whole passage first.  Why are the ACT test writers so misleading?

Have a joyful 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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