SAT Question of the Day (plus ACT): Mar. 23, 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 E.  Why are only 55% of the students getting this question correct?  It confuses me because the math is extra simple.  The explanation must be that students don’t understand the word “profit.”  It is the difference between what goods and/or services cost a business owner and how much the goods and services are sold for.  In this case, roses cost fifty cents and are sold for a dollar, a “profit” of 50 cents each.  In order to make a total profit of $300, the florist has to sell 600 roses because $300.00 divided by $0.50 is 600.

A business owner’s “costs” are the same as “expenses.”  Keep that in mind on test day.  “Profit” is how much the owner makes after expenses are considered by subtracting expenses/costs from the total price paid by a customer.  The question will tell you about how taxes, salaries, etc. affect expenses.  In this question, they said, “If there are no other expenses;” so, you didn’t need to worry about them.

The next time you buy something in a store, keep in mind that the price you pay for the item minus all the expenses (cost of the goods you bought, rent for  the store, utilities, pay for the employees, insurance, etc.) must be paid by the store owner.  If there’s anything left after paying expenses, that is the owner’s “profit” or personal income.

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.

How do the ACT folks manage to do this?  They just used this question a few days ago.  Very frustrating.  I’ll explain the shortcut I used to do the question the last time.

The answer is C.  I have to divide by x + 4; therefore, it can’t be in the answer because it would cancel!  That eliminates B, D, and E.  I can see that 2 can be factored out of the numerator and that means there has to be a 2 in the answer.  That eliminates A and leaves me with C.

Of course, I hope you could do all the factoring and dividing your algebra teacher taught you.  That’s how the ACT staff explained how to do the question.  You could practice doing that if you had problems with the algebra.

This question is also a perfect example of what I say on page 38 of Demystifying the SAT & ACT and in my video program: “When you see something that can be factored, factor it and you’ll find the factors in the question and the answers.”  In this case, Answer E is what you get when you factor the numerator!  The correct answer is what you get when you divide the factors (Answer E) by the denominator which is one of the factors.  That was easy and sure saved some time.

Thought for the day:

Thomas Edison said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right!”  Virgil said it another way:  “They can because they think they can.”  In the end, it is up to you to develop the confidence of knowing you can reach your target score.  That confidence will depend on how prepared you are on test day.  Reading my blog helps.  However, you need to do hundreds more practice questions.  The best ones are in the “Official SAT Study Guide” and the “Real ACT Prep Guide” because those are actual questions (and not fake ones like you see in other prep books).  All of my students use the real questions and that, in part, is why their scores improve so much.

Enjoy your day.  You won’t get to live it over again!

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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