SAT Question of the Day (ACT too!): Feb. 28, 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 E.  The topic of the sentence is the ballet stage is “weightless.” Therefore, we can predict that “gravity is continually being eliminated, challenged, defied” or some other term that means the dancers seem to make gravity non-existent.  Taking a look at the answers, we see one of the predictions, defied.

Always remember to make a prediction before looking at the answers.  The wrong answers are there to distract you and you shouldn’t look at them until you have developed a filter for identifying and eliminating them.  That is what your prediction does.  It keeps you from falling for the test writers’ distractors.  Using this strategy will keep you from being attracted to words that you know but can’t be the right answer.  For Sentence Completion questions, the topic rules!

I wonder what the ACT folks have up their sleeves this morning!

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 H.  For reading questions, PICK rules!  The I  in PICK stands for Insertable.  The best answer always fits into the passage.  Wrong answers don’t fit because they add to or disagree with the information in the passage.  Check lines 74-6: “There was always a definite and known accuser, some private person…”  If you insert the answers, only H, “a private person” fits.  All the other answers disagree with the passage and, therefore, don’t work.

Given how easy this is, why is it that an average reading score (21) on the ACT only requires you to get slightly more than 50% of the questions correct?  (Keep in mind there are only four answers to each question; so, you’d get about 25% right just by guessing and not even reading the passage!)  It is because for many students the challenge is finishing on time.  The ACT questions give you very few line references compared to the SAT.  That means you have to go back and find the answers somewhere in the passage.  That can take a lot of time and students often don’t get to all of the questions.  What should you do?

Remember MOPP.  The O stands for “organization.”  As you read, pay attention to the topic sentences of each paragraph and think of them as the outline of the passage.  I even suggest underlining a key word or phrase in the sentence.  In this passage for the paragraph that starts on line 72, you probably would have underlined “the method was accusatory in character.”  That topic sentence tells you what the nature of accusations were.  You would have known to look in this paragraph for the answer.  Bingo!  You just became faster at the treasure hunt for right answers.

Gosh, today’s the last day of February.  Why does this month seem so short compared to the others?  I guess that is because it is!  For many of you, I know it has seemed like an awfully long month due to the gruesome weather you’ve experienced.  I hope things let up and March brings you more pleasant weather and spring arrives early.  You need a break.

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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