SAT Question of the Day (ACT too!): Jan 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.)

The answer is D.  This question isn’t too tough; 2/3 of the students are getting it right.  We need a phrase that describes the new “era.”  The original is wrong because “rather it was information” doesn’t describe the era.  Answer B makes it a compound sentence because everything after the comma is an independent clause and you would need an “and” or a semicolon to separate the two clauses.  Answer C has an unnecessary comma and it is too wordy (“but rather” is redundant).  Answer E is not clear.  The phrase after the comma is very awkward.  That leaves Answer D as the “Goldilocks” answer; it is “just right!”  It gets rid of the unnecessary comma and uses fewer words to describe the era.  Ms. Murphy (my ninth grade English teacher) would be proud of me for getting it right.

This question points out something that is important about the SAT Writing and ACT English tests.  The other sections of the tests require you to use analytical and critical thinking skills to the max.  These two grammar sections really don’t.  You have to sit down and learn the rules of grammar and composition.  Then you have to apply those skills to these two sections of the tests.  There’s no easy way around it.  There is work to be done because often this content  doesn’t get much attention in school.  For example, in my class yesterday, students said they hadn’t been taught grammar in any structured way since early middle school.  (In my opinion, that’s a shame.)

Take a look at my website or the 900 Video series.  Both review the grammar you can expect to see on test day.  If you are serious about improving your grammar skills, check out  It’s a terrific grammar and composition website.  I know it will help.

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 ACT folks have to be kidding!  This is ridiculous.  I know they consistently repeat questions but this question was on their website a few days ago.  Here’s what I said about it on January 8:

Nuts!  I was hoping the ACT folks would develop some new questions over the course of the holidays.  No such luck.  Maybe if they would do that, their QotD would become more popular with students.

The answer is J.  Which answer is consistent with the tables?  That’s the key to science questions.  You can see that as the day progresses from sunrise to sunset, the shadows start by getting shorter and then start getting longer after noon (C).   The only graph that goes down to start off after sunrise is J.  F and G go up and H doesn’t change.  How hard was that?

Have you ever noticed that shadows are longer early and late in the day than they are in the middle of the day?  I bet you have.  You could use your prior knowledge to answer the question.  You don’t need to because the test writers will give you the information you need to answer the question.  However, the science on the test will never be inconsistent with reality.  (For example, on the test the shadows would NOT get longer as the morning progressed.)  So, you can take advantage of prior knowledge on the science to speed you up in cases like this.

Enjoy your day.  Thank your parents for a specific thing they have done for you lately.  It will make you both feel warm and fuzzy!

I’ve had a flurry of new students this week and want to welcome you all aboard!  Please continue to spread the word about my blog.  Tell your teachers.  Maybe they’ll use it as seat work while they take attendance.

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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