ACT English and SAT Writing: Beware of THEM (and THEY)!

Posted by Vicki Wood on June 23, 2016 at 11:02 AM

Implied pronouns--those that do not have an antecedent in the sentence nor in a preceding sentence--are difficult to spot in writing because they are so prevalent in our speech. Consider that all of the following sentences have implied pronoun errors:

    They said on the news that pilot error caused the air show collision.      [Incorrect]

    I've been to the Smiths' house, so I should probably invite them to my party.      [Incorrect]

    Even though they said my grades were too low, I applied to Harvard anyway.       [Incorrect]

    We went to the hospital, but they said to just take two aspirin and call them in the morning.      [Incorrect]

Do you see the problems in these sentences? Both the subject pronoun they and the object pronoun them are alarm bells on the ACT and SAT, so any instance in which these two words are underlined should make you pause and take a closer look.

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Topics: SAT Prep, ACT prep, SAT Writing, ACT English

ACT and SAT Math: Classic Quadratic Forms

Posted by Vicki Wood on June 16, 2016 at 1:14 PM

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the writers of standardized tests assess the same concepts, over and over and over again.  Test experts are able to become test experts for that very reason—there is a finite amount of material one needs to learn in order to master the ACT and the SAT. If you study a few dozen tests and find these predictable patterns, you could be an expert, too.

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Topics: SAT Prep, ACT prep, SAT Math, ACT Math

ACT English and SAT Writing: Correlating Conjunctions

Posted by Vicki Wood on June 9, 2016 at 2:04 PM

Some ACT and SAT questions may test your knowledge of correlating conjunctions, which are pairs of coordinating conjunctions:

either..or          neither..nor         both..and        not only..but also       
not..but            whether..or  

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Topics: SAT Prep, ACT prep, SAT Writing, ACT English

ACT and SAT Reading: "True to You" Answers

Posted by Vicki Wood on June 2, 2016 at 12:55 PM

There are certain facts that everyone just knows: the earth orbits the sun. Yellow and blue make green. America was founded in 1776. An adjective modifies a noun or pronoun. A group of birds is called a flock.

Unfortunately, what you know has no place on the ACT and SAT Reading sections; the questions assess how well you read a passage, not what you know about the topic in the passage.

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Topics: SAT Prep, ACT prep, SAT Reading, ACT Reading

Requirements for SAT Essay Readers Reduced

Posted by Vicki Wood on May 19, 2016 at 1:20 PM

From 2005 until early 2016, the SAT had a required essay which was graded by Educational Testing Service (ETS) raters who had to be current teachers of English at the high school or college level. The raters also had to have at least three years of experience teaching English at those levels.

But not anymore.

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Topics: SAT Writing, SAT

[Law Enforcement-Approved] Notes from the May 2016 SAT

Posted by Vicki Wood on May 12, 2016 at 1:09 PM

I try to take the SAT at least once a year to keep up with trends on the test, and one of my favorite parts of the process is coming home and chatting with students in online forums. But that tradition seems to have been banished in much the same manner as the former SAT.

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Topics: SAT

How to Tell If You Are Ready to Take the ACT or SAT

Posted by Vicki Wood on May 5, 2016 at 12:32 PM

I'm preparing to take the redesigned SAT for the first time on Saturday (I should have taken in March with all of you, but the College Board revoked all adult admission tickets just six days before the test). I’ve answered the SAT Question of the Day every day for months. I've worked through all of the questions in The Official SAT Study Guide. I've even categorized the questions by the concept being tested.

But how do I know if I'm really ready to take the test?

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Topics: SAT Prep, ACT prep

Important Dates for the June 11, 2015 ACT

Posted by PowerScore Test Preparation on April 27, 2016 at 12:36 PM

If you're considering signing up for the June 11, 2015 ACT, don't put it off 'til the last minute! Here are the important dates you must remember so that your registration can be processed on time.

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Topics: ACT prep

ACT and SAT Math: Sneaky Similar Triangles

Posted by Vicki Wood on April 20, 2016 at 2:30 PM

Similar triangles are like look-alike fathers and sons. A chip off the ol' block, the smaller son is a spitting image of his larger dad:

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Topics: ACT prep, SAT Math, SAT, ACT Math

ACT English and SAT Writing: We're Talking Apostrophes!

Posted by Vicki Wood on April 14, 2016 at 1:21 PM

Apostrophes have two uses on the ACT and SAT:

    1.  To form possessive nouns.
    2.  To replace missing letters in contractions.

Let’s examine these two situations--as well as when to avoid apostrophes--in this week's blog.

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Topics: ACT prep, SAT Writing, SAT, ACT English