SAT Question of the Day (ACT too!): Apr. 14, 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.  Start with determining the topic of the sentence.  The key word is “unfair” which leads me to predict words that are opposite of one another.   Answers A and B each have a pair of words that mean the same thing rather than opposites; eliminate them.  Answers C and E have a pair of words that have no relationship; eliminate them.  That leaves Answer D.

This is a rare two-blank Sentence Completion question because you cannot do one blank at a time.  You have to compare words.  What is nice is that once you’ve predicted opposites, answering the question becomes fairly simple: look at the first word and see if the second word has an opposite meaning.

Let’s see what the ACT folks have for us today.

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 G.  As always with the Science Test, use the Reading Test strategy of “PICK.”  Which answer is “I,” insertable, without adding to or disagreeing with the passage and/or data?  Answer A disagrees: it begins in a “bare field.”  Answer H disagrees; the height of the plants increases.  Answer J also disagrees; the succession is slower during the later stages.  That leaves us with G.

What you should learn about the test from this question is that the ACT Science Test is more like a “science reading” test than a “science knowledge” test.  They give you all the answers in the passages; you just need to find the answers that are right there in front of you.  It’s just like the ACT Reading Test.

QotD Words of “Wiz-dom”:

Former Alabama football coach Bear Bryant once said, “It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”  That thought sure applies to you.  Yes, you are strongly motivated to improve your SAT and/or ACT score.  However, whether you are successful or not is going to be determined by how much you prepare.  Do you have the will to do that?

For most students, their SAT or ACT score is as important as their GPA.  One course is about 5% of your GPA.  Pick a course.  Let’s say your math class.  How much time do you spend on it?  How much time do you spend on SAT/ACT prep?  Your math course grade is 5% of 50% or 2.5% of the college decision (or financial aid).  Your SAT or ACT score is 50%!  I’m not suggesting you put in 20 times as much effort into your test score as math class but it sure should be taken more seriously than it is by most students.

That is part of the reason why most students do better in the classroom than they do on the tests–they have a will to work harder on the 2.5% than the 50%!  The result is their test scores become the “limiting factor” on their college and financial aid applications.  Do you have the will to prepare to improve your scores?

It’s a new week.  Take advantage of it.

Bob Alexander, the “SAT and ACT Wizard”



Tonight is the “night before the test.” Tomorrow morning hundreds of thousands of students will be taking the ACT. What should they do with their final hours?

First, don’t do any more preparing after dinner. If you don’t know it by then, whatever “it” is, you won’t learn it tonight! Relax. Watch TV, read a book, play a video game. Do something enjoyable. Get your mind off the test and you will sleep better. You need a good night’s sleep.

Second, don’t communicate with anybody! No phone calls, chat rooms, or text messaging. (Smoke signals from the driveway are also to be avoided!) Why do I say that? Nobody is going to tell you anything that can raise your score but you could hear something distressing that will keep you from sleeping and be distracting during the test. For example, a boyfriend (or girlfriend) could call to break up! It has happened. A cousin may want to cry about not getting into any colleges! It has happened. Maybe somebody has died! It has happened. These and many other pieces of “news” could hurt your score. So, relax and don’t communicate with anybody. The news can wait until tomorrow after the test.

Finally, get yourself organized tonight. Lay out your clothes. Put your ticket in the pocket of what you are going to wear. Change the batteries in your calculator. Grab your snack. Sharpen your pencils. Make sure you have your ID. Maybe you need to go shopping to pick up some of the breakfast items I recommended in yesterday’s blog. Make yourself a checklist of everything you need and post it where you can’t miss it (perhaps on the front door). Now that you’ve gotten yourself together, relax and get a good night’s sleep. Don’t forget to set your alarm and ask your parents to make sure you are awake.

Yes, I know it isn’t cool but ask your parents to drive you to the test. Use the ride to do a few “warm up” questions from your practice materials.

Leave for the testing center in plenty of time to be early.

Good luck.

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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