SAT Question of the Day (ACT too!): Jan. 25, 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 B.  70% of students are getting this question correct which means it is a relatively easy question.  You just need to understand a couple things to do it very quickly.  For the graph of a function, “f(x)” really just stands for y.   So, look at the answers as “y=…”  Then you just see five “slope-intercept” equations.  You probably remember that in the equation  y = mx + b,  m is the slope.  Looking at the answers, only Answer B has a m = 2.  All done.

Yes, some of the questions on the test are going to be this easy.  There’s a very important thing to remember about the SAT that you can learn from this question.  Because the math questions are arranged from easy to hard within each format, you can play a little game with the test writers.  (One math section has two formats–8 multiple-choice and 10 fill-in-the-blank)–and when you begin the 10 fill-in-the-blank questions, you’ll see that format starts with very easy questions.  The last few multiple-choice are real stinkers!)  If you see a question early in a format section that you think is too easy for being on the SAT, it probably is easy.  Just answer it and move on, like we did with this question.  But, if you see what looks like an easy question late in the test, it is not going to be that easy.  There’s something tricky or difficult about the question and that is why it is late in that section.  Be very careful.  Don’t quickly pick the “obvious” answer.  If it were really that easy, it would be earlier in the section!  Proceed with caution because there’s something about the question that causes most students to miss it.

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.

Answer is D.  The underlined portions of the sentences must always be consistent with the non-underlined portions.  In this case, “shone” is in the past tense and isn’t underlined.  Therefore, the underlined verb has to be in the past tense.  The only answer that is in the past tense is “could.”  That was sure easy.

I must use this sentence to teach you something about the ACT English Test directions.  They stink!  In the directions, the test writers say, “Read the passage through once before you begin to answer any of the questions that accompany it.”  Having just done this question, you can see how foolish that would be to do that on test day.  Their “directions” aren’t even directions; they are test-taking advice and it is terrible advice.  On a timed test, what sense would it make to do what their “directions” tell you to do?  Almost all of the questions can be answered just by doing the question (as we did with this example).  For the few questions that require you to use the context of a surrounding sentence or two, just deal with those as you get to them.  My advice: just start reading at the beginning of the passage and deal with the underlined portions as you come to them.  That approach will greatly increase your speed and certainly won’t hurt your score.   It will raise it.  Shame on the test writers for giving you such ridiculous “directions.”  Why would they do that?

Darn, another cold day.  Tell those around you how important they are to you.  That will warm everyone up!

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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