SAT Question of the Day (ACT too!): Jan. 29, 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.

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 subject of the sentence is the “rising temperatures” and we are told that it is going to get “still warmer.”  That’s the topic: the poles are warm and they are going to get warmer.  We need to predict a word for the blank that is consistent with “predictions.”  Rising temperatures are “predictions” of a warmer world.

Which answer is a synonym for “predictions?”  Even though you may not know some of the words, using your prediction, you should be able to eliminate words (and that’s a wonderful strategy).  Remember you only need to eliminate one answer before guessing at the remaining answers which is likely raise your score.

I giggled when I saw Answer A, polarities.  The sentence is about the Arctic and Antarctic (north and south poles): so, the test writers know some students will pick polarities.  However, always remember the right answer will be about the topic of the sentence, not the subject!  Pick an answer that is consistent with what the sentence tells you about the subject (the sentence’s topic), not the subject itself.  This is a very important point and you should never forget 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.

The answer is D.  As my incredible 9th grade English teacher, Ms. Murphy, used to say, “Shorter is better.”  We are already told in the previous sentence Bessie was born in 1893; we don’t need somebody to tell us the math!  The sentence telling us that was a century ago is superfluous.  Send it to the cutting room waste basket.

Watch out for repetitive, redundant, superfluous information in the editing parts of both the SAT and ACT.  Also watch for them when you write essays (whether they are for a class or for the tests).   This issue is on my list of favorite test writer grammar and composition errors.  Be sure to  review the list on either my free website or Video Series #900.

I had a great day yesterday.  Did you make the most of your day?  Make the most of every one you get because you can’t relive it.  There is no way to change the past.

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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