SAT Question of the Day (ACT too!): Jan. 20, 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.

The key to Sentence Completion Questions is always to identify the topic of the sentence and then predict a word for each of the blanks before looking at the answers.  That is because the sentences will sound like topic sentences for paragraphs and the right answer will always sound like a word that belongs in the paragraph.

For example, in this case the the sentence is about the “provisions for animal protection” and we are told that “in the past they were merely ____” but “will now be mandatory.”  That’s the topic: the provisions are going to be required whereas they were “merely” or not mandatory in the past.  We need to predict a word for the first blank that is consistent with “not mandatory.”   I picked “not mandatory.”  Sometimes I just use a word that is in the sentence (the opposite of mandatory) because then I know it has to be consistent.  You can also just pick a synonym.

For the second blank, we know people who don’t conform with the new rules will be punished by losing their grants.  I predicted “violators.”

Now for the trick–start with one of your two predictions and eliminate as many answers as possible for that blank.  Let’s start with the second blank, “violators,” because I feel really good about it.  Wow.  Only D works!  I can eliminate all the other answers because none of them mean “violators.”  It turns out we don’t even need to worry about the first blank.  That sure saves a lot of time.  Be sure to check your answer by looking at the first blank to see if it fits your prediction for it.  You can see it fits just fine in this case and you’ve saved the time that it would take to look at the other four answers.

Often when you use one blank to eliminate as many answers as possible, you still have two and sometimes three answers in the running.  That is because the test writers use synonyms in each column that can work.  Then you have to use the other blank.  In this case, they didn’t do that; so, we are all done with this question and are ready to move on.

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 D.  80 years into the time period, there is a pine forest.  Answer A is a decent distractor (attractive wrong answer) but it says “seedlings only.”  You can see from the figure that there are full-grown trees because 80 years is going to be more than half way through the 25-100 year period of the pine forest.  The other two answers have nothing to do with pine forest; so, they are just stupid answers.

Do you know what the most important thing is to learn from this question?  First, you’ll never predict the science knowledge that will be on the test; so don’t worry about reviewing science information as part of your test prep.  Second, they’ll explain the science on the test which is all the more reason to not review science topics.  Third, this is a science reasoning test.  You need to apply scientific principles and the most important skill is analyzing and interpreting data.  That is what you need to practice prior to the test.  Get your hands on some actual ACT Science Tests and study the way the test writers present data and ask questions about the charts and graphs in those tests–the more the better.  Work on your speed because that is the major challenge of the test.  Let’s get to work!  Practicing will raise your score.

My teams were 1 win and 1 loss yesterday.  Oh well, that makes it easy to know who to cheer for during the Super Bowl: Denver!

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.
Category: SAT & ACT Question Of The Day No Comments

Comments are closed.