SAT Question of the Day (plus ACT): Apr. 25, 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 D.  Once again the test writer’s explanation is harder to understand than the question!  It is what I refer to as “the math teacher’s way” to do the problem.  Obviously it works and if it makes sense and you have all the extra time to do it, then go ahead and do it this way.

However, there’s a much easier, faster, and wizardly way to do the problem.  Use your head.  2/3 of the marbles are red which means 1/3 are green.   That tells use there are twice as many red marbles as green ones.  Since there are 36 green marbles, that means there are 72 red ones.

There are usually a number of ways to to the math questions.  You need to practice to determine what ways work best for you.  Sometimes you will find yourself doing the “math teacher” thing and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Sometimes you will use math reasoning and analytical skills.  There’s certainly nothing wrong with that.  Very often and as in this example, you will find thinking rather than calculating is much faster.  Just be sure to practice and find out what works for you.

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.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ve seen this question before.  The ACT folks are just trying to get you to waste you time.   Just skip to my “Words of “Wiz-dom.”

The answer is C.  As with all reading questions, use PICK.  Just Insert the answers into the passage.  Answers A, B, and D do not fit into the story because they add to or disagree with the passage.  Only Answer C fits perfectly because when you Insert it, it neither adds to nor disagrees with the passage.

QotD Words of “Wiz-dom”:

This is the third installment in a series about the “Pillars of Test-Taking Wiz-dom.”

Pillar II: Restate the Given Information:

This is the most valuable of all the Pillars.  You must be able to put the test writers’ words into your own words.  Doing so helps you make sense of the passages, the reading questions, and the math questions.  For example, when reading questions ask “What did the author imply” or “What can you infer,” you should be translating that to “What did the author suggest” or “What can you conclude or assume“.

The math questions require the same skill.  We restated the given information in today’s math question.  We restated “2/3 red” into “1/3 green.”  Then we did the simple calculations that we needed to answer the question.  The math was very simple; understanding how to use the given information was the challenge.  We had to restate what they told us (2/3 red = ?) to useful information (1/3 green = 36).  Then you needed to restate 2/3 vs. 1/3 to “there’s twice as many red as green.”

Pay attention as you practice.  You’ll notice that “easy” questions are simple to restate.  Difficult questions are more challenging to restate.  Practice is critical.

Enjoy your day.

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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