SAT Question of the Day (ACT too!): Oct. 7, 2013

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. If you are seeing this in my blog, do the SAT Question of the Day by clicking on this link: (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 median is the middle score; so, 2 scores have to be above 456 and 2 have to be below 456 because “no two games had the same attendance.”  508 and 550 are above 456 which tells us that n has to be below 456.  What’s the biggest number that is less than 456? 455.  All done.

Using the answers sure could make this question a snap!  Because 456 has to be in the middle, answers for n greater than 456 couldn’t possibly be right.  That would  leave 399 below 456 and 3 numbers above 456.  We can eliminate C, D, and E.  Which of the two remaining answers is the greater value?  455.  That was easy.

Do me a favor.  If you missed this question, send me an email and tell me your wrong answer.  Only half of the students who have done the question are getting it correct.  I’m guessing many students picked 549 because it is the “greatest” answer.  Don’t fall for that trap.  It is pretty rare that questions regarding the greatest or least values are the largest or smallest answer.

I’m not sure why the SAT folks made the explanation so difficult.  They seem to like to do that some times.  Many of my students tell me they don’t like to read the math explanations that are provided on the SAT website because they are more confusing than the questions!  Often I agree.  One consequence of their obfuscating explanations is that you could be led to believe the SAT is a lot harder than it is.  I hope that isn’t the rationale for their lengthy, complicated explanations.

I hope my explanations are easy to follow and reveal what the test is really like.  I’d love to hear what you have to say.  Thanks. Send email to: bob at  Use “SAT Class” as your email subject.   (Sorry for not using @ but the worms on the Internet will find my email and bombard me with even more  junk!)

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 G.  Don’t ever worry about reviewing science knowledge.  They give you what you need to know in the passage and data tables.  As always, just read the figure and you’ll get the answer.

Now read the answers and use the same strategies as I’ve taught you for the reading test.  Insert the answers into the information you are provided and discard the ones that add or disagree with the science you are given.  Answer A adds information because they say nothing about bare rock.   Answer C disagrees because the height of the plants increases, not decreases.  Answer D disagrees because the “age in years” part of the figure indicates the changes are more rapid in the first few years than in the later years.

I was talking with a student Saturday about how many students think that “standardized” tests are somehow inherently harder than “teacher-made” tests.  Not true.  Standardized means something is always the same.  For example, traffic lights are standardized; red always means stop.  Because the SAT and ACT are standardized and always the same, they are incredibly predictable.  It means I can tell you what to expect on test day and tell you what strategies will raise your score.  Use this Science Test question as an example.  I know you shouldn’t prepare by reviewing science.  You should prepare by practicing reading charts, graphs and figures.  You should also work on your speed.  Reading my blogs should help you eliminate surprises on test day because the tests are standardized and quite predictable.

Have a great week.

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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