SAT Question of the Day (plus ACT): Mar. 30, 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 C.  Start with the topic of the sentence.  What does it tell us about the man?  He has an “inclination to succumb to flattery.”  So, we would predict words like “made him inclined to believe the flattery of people.”  Be sure to notice that I predicted words that are already in the sentence!  That only makes sense because the words in the sentence tells us the topic of the sentence in the first place and the right answer will always be words that are consistent with the topic.

Now let’s find the answer that has words that are consistent with the predictions of “inclined” and  “flattery.”  Be sure to start by using only one of the words to eliminate as many answers as possible before concerning yourself with the other word.  Let’s start with “inclined.”  That leaves us with Answers C and E.  Looking at the second words for those two answers leaves us with C because “rejection” sure doesn’t mean “flattery.”

Do you see how using one word to eliminate as many answers as possible before looking at the second word saves you time?  Most students would not know the meaning of both  “predilection” and “blandishments.”  But so what?  By using the prediction for the first word, inclined, we have already eliminated those answers and it doesn’t matter what those two words mean!  Using one prediction to eliminate as many answers as possible before using the prediction for the other word will increase your speed and your score.  What can be better than that?

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.

Well, it isn’t new but it has been a while since they used this question.

The answer is J.  Ms. Murphy, my ninth grade English teacher, is right once again: “Shorter is better.”  Whenever you can say the same thing with fewer words, do so.  Notice how Answer J only uses two words to say the same thing as the original words and any of the other answers.  That is one reason why it is better.

The other reason it is better is that it places the adjective, childlike, close to the noun, love, that it modifies.  The other options are awkwardly constructed because the adjective and noun are separated by intervening words.  It is always best to put the adjective near the noun that is modified.

Thought for the day:

My continuing saga with my RV problem that I described yesterday reminds me of the importance of patience.  The old phrase “patience is a virtue” kept ringing in my head.  The alternator in the RV had to be replaced but the new one was faulty and it took over two hours to figure out that was the problem!  By the time we figured that out, the parts suppliers were all closed and don’t open again until Monday.  So, I’m stuck here until then.  The situation reminded me of an important life lesson for you to consider as you prepare for the tests.

One element of patience is persistence.  You cannot be in a hurry if you want to succeed.  You have to keep working at it.  Many of my strategies are simple to understand and they will make immediate sense to you.  For example, today’s Official SAT Question of the Day is much easier to answer and requires less time if you use my strategy.  However, until you have used the strategy dozens of times (persistence), you will not have mastered the technique.  Mastering the technique is going to improve your confidence and it is confidence that will raise your score.

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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