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. One of the biggest mistakes a student can make is to bring his or her experience and expectations into a standardized test. 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 with leaves and other plants to form a nest.
1. According to the passage, black bears seek “carbohydrate-rich foods” primarily because they
Bears hibernate. We all learned this in early elementary school, and answer choice (A) is depending on this knowledge to seduce us into selecting it as the right answer choice. But we 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 (D). But many, many test takers would choose (A) because they applied their prior knowledge to the passage and failed to read the remaining answer choices.
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.