SAT Question of the Day (ACT too!): Sept. 27, 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.  This is the easiest question I’ve ever seen on the Question of the Day.  84% of the people who’ve tried it have gotten it correct!  Ms. Murphy would have told us to drop the “Mitzie and” part of the sentence to make it easy.  You wouldn’t say, “By the time myself got to the box office…”  You would say, “I,” because you need the nominative, first-person pronoun and not the reflexive pronoun, myself, which reflects or refers to “I” which isn’t even in the sentence.

This question makes me wonder about something.  I wonder if the test writers use the Question of the Day to see what students know and when they find an easy question, they avoid including ones like it on the test!  Maybe they see that this one is so easy that they don’t put this grammar error on the SAT, those sneaky rascals!

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 C.  There is something that is very tricky about this question and you can learn something from it.  The test writer tells you “p%” (for example, 10%) and then use only “p” (10) in the answers.  Your natural tendency may be to convert the “p%” to a decimal (.10) and use it with the possible answers.  If you do that, you don’t get the right answer.

What should you do?  Use only the “p” (10) and forget the % or the decimal!  Let’s use my strategy of changing the abstract to the concrete.  Substitute real numbers for the variables.  Since it is a percent question, let’s use 100 students for n students and 10% for p%.  The arithmetic becomes pretty simple.  If 10% of 100 students play a musical instrument, it is easy to calculate in our heads that 90% don’t play an instrument and 90% of 100 students is 90.  Now, using our actual numbers of 100 and 10 rather than n and p, which answer results in 90?  Answer C: (100-10)100/100=90.

Changing the abstract to the concrete (Video #4)  is a great way to raise your score.   Why?  First, it makes doing the seemingly difficult less intimidating (Pillar VI on Video #1).  Arithmetic is always easier than algebra.  Second, it helps avoid simple math mistakes–numbers are easier to use than variables.  Third, it is quicker.  Fourth, if you use your calculator, you can’t put variables into it; you have to put numbers into it!  So, practice this technique when the test writers for the ACT and SAT don’t give you numbers in a question.

Wish, “Happy birthday,” to my high school sweetheart and wife.  She’s the love of my life.

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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