SAT Question of the Day (ACT too!): Apr. 16, 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 A.  There are 4 points to the right of 10 items on the x-axis and below $20 on the y-axis.  Don’t be distracted by the two points that are exactly on 10 items because the question asks “more than 10 items.”

This is a good question to point out the exception to a very important characteristic of SAT and ACT word problems: they don’t include math information that you don’t need to answer questions.  My math strategies include making sure you use everything the test writer gives you in order to get a question correct.  That means, if you are stuck on a question, be sure you review the question and check out what they told you and then derive missing information to answer the question.  (Read my website or watch the Video #400 Series.)  Usually that is the step that is causing you a problem.  That is, there’s information you are given that you aren’t using.

The exception to my statement about there not being extraneous information is that there can be extra data on charts and graphs that you don’t need to answer a question.  Today’s question is an example.  You don’t need all the points on the scatter plot to answer the question.  You only need the four points that are in the area that is defined by the question.  That is pretty obvious but it is so unusual that I thought I’d point it out.

What’s important about today’s blog is the strategy I explained in the second paragraph.  Remember they don’t give you extra information in the questions.  I’ve only seen 3 or 4 questions in over twenty years that have done so other than data in charts and graphs.  Therefore, treat every bit of math information they give you as critical to your success.

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 C.  Don’t worry about this question.  This type of question disappeared from the test when they started allowing calculators over 20 years ago!  In the “old days,” you could have done the division by hand or used a shortcut.  If the sum of the digits in a number is divisible by 3, then the number is divisible by 3.  For example, the digits in the correct answer (4,482) have a sum of 18 which is divisible by 3.  Therefore, 4,482 is divisible by 3.

I can only ask, “Why do they still include this question on their website?”  It isn’t the first time I’ve seen it and I wonder why are they wasting your time by having you bother with something you won’t see on the test.  I guess they are just too busy planting corn (ACT is in Iowa) to bother to keep their website up to date!

QotD Words of “Wiz-dom”:

Barbara Jordan, a former member of the US Congress, once said, “For all its uncertainty, we cannot flee the future.”

It reminds me of the students I’ve met who disregard the importance of preparing for the SAT and/or ACT tests.  They must think that if they don’t worry about it and don’t prepare for the tests, they will go away.  The future is inevitable.  Congratulations to you.  You will be prepared for the tests that are in your future.

Do something wonderful for yourself today.

Bob Alexander, the “SAT and 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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