SAT Question of the Day (ACT too!): Feb. 12, 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.)

Well, this question would sure be an early one on the test!  Over 80% of students are getting it correct.  That means it will be early in the math section because math questions are arranged from easy to hard.  Remember in the math section that has both multiple-choice (MC) and fill-in-the-blank (FiB) questions that the MC questions go from easy to hard and then the FiB questions go from easy to hard.  This means the last few MC questions are much harder than the first few FiB questions.  So, a great strategy for most students is to skip the last two MC questions and go to the FiB questions.  You’ll probably be able to do 3 or 4 FiB questions in the same amount of time that you would need to do the last 2 MC questions.  Plus, you’ll probably get the first few FiB questions correct (at least they are not very hard) and getting the last 2 MC questions is hard.  The net result is you’ll earn more points in less time–that’s a good thing!

Back to this easy question.

The answer is D.  They tell you that x = 12.  That means 12/y = 3 and y must equal 4.  x – y = 12 – 4 = 8.   All done.

An important thing to remember about the test is that questions can be this easy!  They show up as the first one or two questions in each math section on the test and you can think about them as warming up for the rest of the math questions because you can bet the questions will be getting harder.  On the other hand, if you see what looks like an easy question late in the section, it isn’t.  There’s something about it that is tricky.  Otherwise, it would be at the beginning of the math section.  Be careful or you could make a simple math mistake.

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 B.  Lines 16-17 and lines 60-61 tell us that trial by battle was brought to England by the Normans.  That is a simple, straightforward detail question.  You  won’t see detail questions on the SAT but there are always a few on the ACT.  They are easy to answer once you find the answer in the passage.  That is the challenge: the question isn’t hard to answer; finding the answer is and that makes a serious challenge of the ACT getting finished on time.  You have to find the answers quickly.

The best thing to do is use my FRaS strategy.  In part, this approach has you pay careful attention to the topic sentences of each paragraph.  Collectively, they will reveal the outline of the passage.  Once you know the outline, you’ll know where the main points are.

Additionally, the first paragraph will usually explain the main idea.

Use this question and passage as an example.  In the first paragraph, you are told there were three types of trials (main idea).  Then each paragraph explains one of them: first, compurgation; second, ordeal, third, battle.  The question is about trial by battle; so go directly to that paragraph and you’ll find the answer (in case you missed it in the first paragraph).

We had a great turnout at Olympia High last night.  I want to thank everyone for spending time with Dr. Alexander and me.

If you would like us to visit your school and conduct our free seminar, please let us know.  Even if you aren’t in Florida, we could still work on including you on our summer schedule.  (Even though you school is closed, we can arrange to meet at the local public library.)  We’ll be traveling about 13,000 miles this summer.  Maybe we’ll be coming your way.  Let us know.

The SAT & 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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