SAT Question of the Day (plus ACT): Feb. 11, 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 B.  Because “it” is not underlined, the noun that “it” represents must be singular.  Therefore, “wolves” must be singular.

The grammar rule of making pronouns consistent with the noun they represent shows up on the test quite frequently.  You should check out my free website to get a comprehensive list of the errors that you need to be prepared to see on test day.  You can also check out Video Series #9 and the Writing Test chapter of Demystifying the SAT & ACT manual.

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 A.  You learned long ago that you must factor anything under the radical sign and remove perfect squares.  That means for this question you have to factor the 20 to 4 times 5 and because 4 is a perfect square you must move it to the outside of the radical.  Your calculation will look like this: √20 = √4×5= √4 x √5 = 2√5.

Memorize the perfect squares through 17 and the first few multiples of perfect squares through 7.  For example, 98 is 2 times 49.  You have to immediately recognize numbers like 98 and 75 (3 times 25) can be factored and one of the factors is a perfect square.

There are a couple of things you should know about the SAT and ACT tests that are exemplified by this question.  You can use your calculator to solve similar questions.  Just plug in the square root of 20 and you’ll get 4.47.  Then try all the answers.  A works.  2 times the square root of 2 (2.23) or 4.46 is equal to 4.47 within rounding error.  You aren’t likely to see this question on the test anymore because it is so easy to do with a calculator.  This is a very old question.

Second, both the SAT and ACT now test this issue in a different way and you need to be on alert for it.  Let’s say you have to solve a question and you get √20 for an answer.  You will not see √20 among Answers A-E.  At that point you could think that you got a wrong answer because your answer isn’t there.  Doing so would be a mistake.  You need to check to see if your answer is there in a different form.  In this case, it would look like Answer A rather than √20!  The test writers will not warn you to convert it to 2√5 but they will expect you to know you are supposed to do that.  So, be careful.  Don’t automatically assume you are wrong if you don’t see your answer.  Look to see if it could be in a different form.

You are to be congratulated for spending a little time each day thinking about SAT/ACT issues.  The value is that you are continually thinking about how what you learn in school may show up on the test.  That’s a good thing.  What you learn in school is not simply valuable for your teachers’ tests; they also can show up on the SAT and ACT.  They’ll also be valuable once you get to college.  Be sure you remember them–avoid “brain dumps” after the teacher’s test!

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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