SAT Question of the Day (ACT too!): Nov. 28, 2013

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http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-question-of-the-day?questionId=20131128&oq=1 (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.  Always start with the topic of the sentence.  Ask yourself, “What does the sentence tell us about the subject (main noun)?”  Think about the sentence as the topic sentence of a paragraph.  Imagine what the details would be in the paragraph to support the claim in the sentence.  Mr. W claims he can “tell the difference” among a range of wines.   That means we could predict the phrase “tell the difference” or “distinguish between” variations in wine.  Which answer is consistent with our prediction?  Discern, Answer B.

Perhaps you didn’t know some of the words.  I’ll bet you knew at least one of them, debate.  You could certainly eliminate that word and guess at the rest because you only need to eliminate one answer before the “guessing penalty” becomes a “guessing reward.”  Yes, that’s when the odds are in your favor.  Of course, if you can eliminate more than one answer, the odds swing even more into your favor, but you really only need to eliminate one.

Also, when you have determined the topic and predicted a word or phrase for the blank, you have an idea of what the sentence really means.  So, use that strategy to eliminate answers even if you aren’t sure of their meanings.  For example, read the sentence and insert Answer A, purvey.  Now, trust your judgment.  Does it sound right?  Does it sound like “tell the difference between?”  I bet it didn’t.  Use this approach to eliminate answers after you have eliminated ones that you knew were wrong.  Rather than randomly guess between 2, 3, or even 4 answers, read the sentence using the different remaining answers.  One will sound better than the others.  Pick it.  Doing so will increase your odds of being right.  That’s because you have an unused vocabulary filed away in your brain and it is waiting to be called upon for the SAT!  No kidding.

Let’s see what the ACT folks have for us this morning.

The answer is A.  O2 is the only characteristic of the sediment that is not different at the two different depths.

What can you learn from this question?  First, don’t bother to review any science facts to prepare for the ACT.  You could never predict what you’ll see; so, doing a review of science information would be a waste of time.  Second, work on your data reading and interpretation skills.  That’s what the ACT Science Test measures–data analysis ability.  Work on your speed and accuracy by practicing with old ACT tests.  The best source is “The Real ACT Prep Guide.”  There are 5 actual tests in that book; other books that you’ll find at the bookstore provide fake tests.  There’s also a free one available on the ACT website and you can save the time and money it will take to print it by picking up a copy of it in your counselor’s office.

It’s Thanksgiving.  After eating some sticky buns and drinking some hot tea, I’m going to watch the Macy’s Parade and look forward to dinner with my family and friends.   Make your day special for you — and for others.

The SAT & ACT Wizard