Pillar V: The Answer Is There

Words of “Wiz-dom”—The right answer is alwaysthere on the ACT. Of course, this means that when you can’t directly identify the right answer, you should be able to eliminate some wrong answers and that will get you closer to the right answer. The test becomes an treasure hunt. If you look a place where the treasure hasn’t been hidden (wrong answer), you’re closer to finding the treasurer (right answer) due to the process of elimination.


Words of “Wiz-dom”— While you are trying to identify the right answer on the English Test, sometimes the right answer doesn’t just “jump off the page.” In these cases, you can use your knowledge to eliminate obviously wrong answers. Some of the answers are so bad that even a Martian would recognize them as nonsense answers.

Here are a couple of test writer tendencies you can use to raise your score. If you need to guess, “NO CHANGE” is a bad guess. It is the correct answer much less often than it would be based on probability. By contrast, “OMIT the underlined portion” is a good guess. It is correct more often than it should be based on probability.


There are a variety of wizardly techniques for finding the right answer on the ACT. For now, let’s do a couple of my favorites.

Words of “Wiz-dom”—Plug in the answers. With which answer should you start?


1. The sum of four consecutive odd integers is 32. What is the smallest integer?

A. 3
B. 5
C. 7
D. 8
E. 9

Answer to question #1

2. A jar contains only dimes and quarters. If there are a total of 22 coins and their total value is $3.25, how many quarters are there?

A. 7
B. 8
C. 9
D. 10
E. 11

Answer to question #2

Words of “Wiz-dom”— Eliminate the odd-ball and pick the common elements. Here’s a strategy the test writers don’t like me to tell you! However, until they change their bad habits, you need to know about it. Use it only when you must guess. The Wizard says, “I want you to try to do the problem legitimately first. If you can’t do it and have to guess, here’s a wizardly way to eliminate answers and improve your chances of guessing correctly. It doesn’t guarantee the right answer–it just improves your odds of being correct.” Find the answers for these indecipherable questions.


3. Oeu ovnndji ovnvndk oiu eounjhe 1/2 ojh I 2.5 oun ounnnih ionadik ioijdz.c,moe?

A. -7
B. -1/2
C. -2/7
D. 2/7
E. 7

4. Mvou893 kfndkic dij didkai eidcmdk a ddied doijok eidnkj imnnlk aie einkk?

A. -6x-7
B. 6x+7
C. 6x2 +7x
D. 6x2-7x
E. 7x2+6x

Answers to questions #3 and #4


Finding the right answer on the test by identifying and eliminating wrong answers is a highly rewarded strategy on the ACT Reading Test. When we get to the reading lesson you will learn a number of ways to recognize wrong answers. For example, any answer that is not consistent with the main idea of the passage will be wrong. Indeed, wrong answers are so easy to identify that most of the time you’ll be eliminating half the answers and deciding between two. Then you’ll be using a proven strategy to determine which of the two is better: one of them will paraphrase something that was said in the passage!

Word of “Wiz-dom” on answering reading questions.

Science Reasoning:

The major benefit of the right answer being on the page for the science test is that three of the answers will be wrong. That means that when you don’t know the right answer, you should eliminate wrong ones and then guess. Add that technique to realizing that there isn’t a guessing penalty and it means no blank answers on the ACT.

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