SAT Question of the Day: Mar. 9, 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.)

Using my Sentence Completion strategy sure would help a large number of students this morning.  Only 55% are getting it correct.

The answer is E.  Start by determining the topic.  The introductory independent clause tells us the viewers were polarized.  As a result, we know that viewers had opposite responses to the movie.  Now, let’s predict some words for the blanks.  The first one has to be positive because the movie was “artfully directed.”  The second one has to be negative because the movie was “inaccessible.”  We are now prepared to look at the answers.  Three of the first words are positive, A, D, and E.  Two of the second words are negative, B and E.  E, lauded and criticized, works for both blanks.  We are all set.

What if you had trouble with the vocabulary?  Look at the second words because there are only two negative choices: blamed and criticized.  Those are common words; the vocabulary isn’t difficult.  Now ask yourself, “Can you blame a film?”  No, the film isn’t responsible for anything!  So, blame can’t be correct.  That leaves you with Answer E for the second blank and so it doesn’t matter whether you know what the first word means!  E has to be correct.

To build your vocabulary, don’t spend time learning individual words.  Work on word parts: prefixes, roots/stems, and suffixes.  If you had studied a good list, you would know that “laud” means to praise.  (Think about applaud.)  Now you’ve got it.

Remember this section of the test is as much about strategy as it is about vocabulary.  Proper technique will help you get questions correct when you don’t know the words and help you avoid traps when you do know them.

I wonder if the ACT folks have something new for us this morning.

ACT Question of the Day: Use your “back” button to return to my website after reading the ACT Question of the Day.

This question is a good example of something you should remember about the test: the information in the passage and data displays never contradict scientific facts.  I answered this question by reading the table and then used what I know to confirm my answer.

The answer is F.  Because the data tell us the shadows point in different directions throughout the year, we know the sun is coming up in different places.  I bet you know that without even reading the table.

You should always use my reading strategy, PICK, to answer the Science Test questions.  Wrong answers don’t fit (aren’t insertable) into the passage or data displays.  All three of the wrong answers in this case add to the information you are given which makes them wrong!  If you aren’t familiar with this reading strategy that works so well on the Science Test, you should take a look at it on my free website or review the Video 300 series.

I hope you take advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves to you today.  They are there for your enjoyment and benefit.  Don’t ignore them.

Bob Alexander, the “SAT and 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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