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SAT Tips and Tricks: "True to You" Reading Answers

Posted by Vicki Wood on Jul 16, 2014 7:00:00 AM

There are certain facts that everyone just knowsHibernate: the earth orbits the sun. Yellow and blue make green. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. An adjective modifies a noun or pronoun. Bees make honey.

Unfortunately, what you know has no place on the SAT Critical Reading section. The Passage-Based Reading questions assess how well you read a passage, not what you know about the topic in the passage. One of the biggest mistakes a student can make is to bring his or her experience and expectations into the SAT. Your opinions and prior knowledge are not relevant on the reading portion of the test, and you should be careful not to let them influence your understanding of a text.

"True to You" answers are wrong answer choices designed to take advantage of your assumptions and previous experience with a topic. Consider a simplified passage and sample question:

In late summer, black bears begin gorging on carbohydrate-rich foods in order to put on significant weight and body fat. They can gain as much as 30 pounds in a single week! Once fall arrives, the bear prepares its den, lining it wiht leaves and other plants to form a nest.

1. According to the passage, black bears seek "carbohydrate-rich foods" (line 1) primarily because they

(A) are preparing to hibernate
(B) need to considerably increase their body mass

Unless you skipped kindergarten and most of elementary school, it’s likely that you know bears hibernate. Answer choice (A) is depending on this knowledge to seduce you into selecting it as the right answer choice. But you would be wrong.

The passage never mentions hibernation. The reason it provides for the black bears gorging on carbs is to put on significant weight and body fat. The correct answer is (B). But many, many test takers would choose (A) because they applied their prior knowledge to the passage and failed to read the remaining answer choice.

If the author does not state or imply an idea, it simply is not true in the context of the passage. Read each answer choice carefully to determine whether the information contained within is presented in the passage or is playing on your prior knowledge.

Did you find this helpful? If so, check out the other types of answer traps in a free chapter from our SAT Reading Bible!

 

Photo: Does a bear shoot in the woods?, courtesy of Theresa Thompson

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Topics: SAT Reading

SAT Word of the Day - Abstract

Posted by PowerScore Test Preparation on Jul 15, 2014 8:00:00 AM


Abstract

(v.) to draw or take away

(pronounced "ab-STRAKT")

  

principal

Example Sentence:

  • Even though Abby never mentioned her childhood, John abstracted from the conversation that she had a strict upbringing.

Create your own sentence and post it below. 

The best sentence will be entered to win a free SAT course.

 

* We will choose a new winner each month. Good luck!

 


 

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Topics: SAT Word of the Day

SAT Word of the Day - Venerated

Posted by PowerScore Test Preparation on Jul 14, 2014 8:00:00 AM


Venerated

(adj.) highly respected

(pronounced "VEN-uh-ray-ted")

  

principal

Example Sentence:

  • The venerated teacher had earned the respect of his students by helping them meet the high expectations he set for them.

Create your own sentence and post it below. 

The best sentence will be entered to win a free SAT course.

 

* We will choose a new winner each month. Good luck!

 


 

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Topics: SAT Word of the Day

SAT Word of the Day - Liberated

Posted by PowerScore Test Preparation on Jul 11, 2014 8:00:00 AM


Liberated

(adj.) free; unrestrained

(pronounced "LIB-uh-ray-ted")

  

horse

Example Sentence:

  • When the farmer accidentally left the stall door open, the liberated horse sprinted for the woods.

Create your own sentence and post it below. 

The best sentence will be entered to win a free SAT course.

 

* We will choose a new winner each month. Good luck!

 


 

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Topics: SAT Word of the Day

SAT Word of the Day - Exploit

Posted by PowerScore Test Preparation on Jul 10, 2014 8:00:00 AM


Exploit

(v.) to use for one's own advantage

(pronounced "ik-SPLOIT")

  

principal

Example Sentence:

  • The company was criticized for exploiting the workers by not paying a fair wage.

Create your own sentence and post it below. 

The best sentence will be entered to win a free SAT course.

 

* We will choose a new winner each month. Good luck!

 


 

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Topics: SAT Word of the Day

SAT Word of the Day - Dearth

Posted by PowerScore Test Preparation on Jul 9, 2014 8:00:00 AM


Dearth

(n.) a lack in supply

(pronounced "DURTH")

  

baseball

Example Sentence:

  • During the Second World War, the dearth of male baseball players led to the creation of a women's baseball league.

Create your own sentence and post it below. 

The best sentence will be entered to win a free SAT course.

 

* We will choose a new winner each month. Good luck!

 


 

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Topics: SAT Word of the Day

SAT Math Tips and Tricks: Translating Percentage Problems

Posted by Vicki Wood on Jul 9, 2014 7:00:00 AM

Word problems notoriously cause studentsPercent stress and anxiety on the SAT. Since the test makers know this, you should plan to see them frequently, especially in questions involving percentages. But there are a couple of strategies to help you conquer your fears and attack percentage problems successfully.

The best solution strategy for word problems is translation. To use translation, first convert words to math symbols. Then break down the question phrase by phrase.

Let’s consider an example:

If 10 is 2% of z, what is 50% of z ?
(A) 0.1
(B) 5
(C) 250
(D) 500
(E) 1000

Start with the first part of the question—if 10 is 2% of z—and translate it into math symbols. Think back to what you know about the basics of translation:

of = multiply

is = equals

Every time you see the word “of” in your problem, use a multiplication sign (X).
Every time you see the word “is” use an equals sign (=).

Now translate:

if 10 is 2% of z
10 = 0.02 x z

You now have a mathematical sentence, and can solve for z:

10 = 0.02 X z

10/0.02 = (0.02 x z)/0.02

500 = z


Some students stop here and select answer choice (D). Wrong answer! Remember, we have only translated the first half of the question.

Now you must attack the second part—what is 50% of z? Another basic translation code is the word what. If there is no x variable in the problem, you can make what = x. But if x is already used, then you must give what another symbol. We recommend using a question mark to avoid confusion. For example:

what is 50% of z
? = 0.50 X z

In the first part of the question, we found that z = 500. Using this information, solve for the question mark:

? = 0.50 X 500
? = 250

The correct answer is (C), 250.



Most percentage problems like this one are considered Easy difficulty level. However, the test makers can boost the difficulty by changing what to what percent in a word problem. Whereas what = ?, what percent = . If you can remember this simple translation, you can easily score points on more difficult questions.

Let’s examine a Hard level question using what percent:

If s is 2% of t, what percent of t is 100 in terms of s ?


Don’t let the expression in terms of s throw you; this simply means that s will appear in the answer choices. We recommend that you cross this phrase out so that you are left with what percent of t is 100.

As with the previous problem, let’s start with the first half of the question:

s is 2% of t
s = 0.02 X t

Since we are solving in terms of s, find t:

Now move to the second half of the question. Remember to use when translating what percent.

And now solve for the question mark:

The correct answer is (E).

Translation is a good solution strategy for students who find percentage word problems confusing or worrisome. Remember to use a multiplication sign for of and for what percent.

Need more help? Check out the other seven PowerScore Solution Strategies in the SAT Math Bible.

PowerScore Practice Prep:

Can you solve the following math questions?

Photo: "Kunstmuseum Stuttgart," courtesy of Ralph Unden

Answers:
1) 10
2) 4
3) D

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Topics: SAT Prep, SAT Tip of the Week

SAT Word of the Day - Collaborate

Posted by PowerScore Test Preparation on Jul 8, 2014 8:00:00 AM


Collaborate

(v.) to work together

(pronounced "kuh-LAB-uh-rate")

  

together

Example Sentence:

  • Colleen And Curtis collaborated on the book; Colleen wrote the stories and Curtis illustrated the scenes.

Create your own sentence and post it below. 

The best sentence will be entered to win a free SAT course.

 

* We will choose a new winner each month. Good luck!

 


 

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Topics: SAT Word of the Day

SAT Word of the Day - Censure

Posted by PowerScore Test Preparation on Jul 7, 2014 8:00:00 AM


Censure

(n.) strong disapproval

(pronounced "SEN-sure")

  

principal

Example Sentence:

  • High school teachers voiced their censure of the new novel, citing mature themes as their main reason for leaving it off the summer reading list.

Create your own sentence and post it below. 

The best sentence will be entered to win a free SAT course.

 

* We will choose a new winner each month. Good luck!

 


 

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Topics: SAT Word of the Day

SAT Word of the Day - Implausible

Posted by PowerScore Test Preparation on Jul 4, 2014 8:00:00 AM


Implausible

(adj.) not believable

(pronounced "im-PLAW-zuh-buhl") 

  

homework

Example Sentence:

  • The teacher did not believe his implausible excuse for not completing the assignment. 

Create your own sentence and post it below. 

The best sentence will be entered to win a free SAT course.

 

* We will choose a new winner each month. Good luck!

 


 

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Topics: SAT Word of the Day

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