SAT Question of the Day (plus ACT!): Mar. 13, 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.)

Here’s a big shout out to the new members from the Jacksonville, FL area!  A little after 10 last night I was bombarded with registrations and didn’t know why.  Then I got an email from someone who lives there asking a specific question about taking tests and told me he had seen me on the local news.  Well, that explained it.  Welcome aboard to all you new readers and please send me emails about your specific questions.  If you have an especially smart, fun, energetic, and enjoyable teacher who you think I could train to become an SAT/ACT teacher, let me know.  Maybe we can bring my program to the J’ville area.  Now let’s take a look at today’s Question of the Day for both tests.

The Answer is E.  This is a pretty easy question and most students (71%) are getting it correct.  The introductory phrase should describe Jordan, not her election.  Oops!  As the sentence is written “election” is the subject of the sentence that is described by the phrase.  We have to fix that and make “Barbara Jordan” the subject and use the proper verb form and tense.  B and C use inappropriate pronouns and are very wordy.  D is wrong because “had been” is the wrong tense because it means she had been elected to the House prior to being in the Texas Senate.  That leaves us with E.

What should you learn from this sentence?  What is it about the SAT (and ACT) that this question tells us about the test?  They love to put the wrong subject following an introductory phrase.  Anytime you see an introductory descriptive phrase or clause followed by a comma, make sure it describes the noun that comes right after the comma that is the subject of the sentence.  Be alert for this “misconstruction” and you’ll raise your score.

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.

We’ve seen this question previously but it sure teaches us some things about the ACT Science Test that are worth knowing.

The answer is H.  First, notice you don’t need any prior knowledge to answer the question and that is true for well over 99% of the questions on the test.  So, don’t bother to review science content prior to the test.  Second, be sure you pay very careful attention to the question.  They often tell you what data table or figure to refer to in order to find the answer.  Be sure you look at the right one.  For example, today they tell you to refer to “Figure 3.”  Then they say “150-year-old” and you need to find that time on the chart but it isn’t labeled at 150 years.  You have to do some interpolation.  That’s a skill that is often tested along with its partner, extrapolation.  If you look at the chart you can see 150 is about half way between 110 and 200.  Looking straight up from where 150 would be, you see the dotted line that represents oak-hickory density is at about 15,000, Answer H.  All done.

Third, this test is largely about reading data.  This question is pretty simple because this is a standard graph of independent and dependent variables.  However, you need to practice with actual ACT tests the skill of reading their various ways to display data.  The Real ACT Prep Guide provides you 5 tests that show you a myriad of data presentations.  You need to see some of the unique ways that data can be displayed so that you are not surprised on test day by some of the peculiar looking charts and graphs.

Finally, practice going fast.  Most students complain about the time limit.  In a future blog, you’ll see some of my pointers about picking up speed.

We are closing in on the favorite spring test dates for each test.  If you ‘ll be taking one or both of them, it’s a great idea to spend a little time each day sharpening your skills.  Thanks for dropping by and reading my blog.  Tell your friends about it.  There are tips here that you’ll find very useful on test day.

Hope you tune in again tomorrow.

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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