Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Feb 27 Official Question of the Day

I have all of my students sign up for's Question of the Day. If you want to have a high score on the SAT, then practice, practice, practice!!!! Did I say practice?

Well what better to practice than to get an actual question from the test writers.

Today's question is [I hope that CollegeBoard does not get mad at me for showing this question - but heck, I tell everyone to read their stuff & buy their book. So, I think that they should be happy with me - I make them money]:

A woman drove to work at an average speed of 40 miles per hour and returned along the same route at 30 miles per hour. If her total traveling time was 1 hour, what was the total number of miles in the round trip?

  1. click to choose answer A 30
  2. click to choose answer B 301 over 7
  3. click to choose answer C 342 over 7
  4. click to choose answer D 35
  5. click to choose answer E 40
This is a "HARD" -- so that means that there is some math involved. Questions on the SAT Math are given in relative order of difficulty. Meaning that the first questions are easier than the last questions. So you will see this question in the last 1/4 of the test.

Hard questions also have hard answers. So if the numbers in the problem appear in the answer choice, like A & E, they are usually wrong.

Also if you can find an answer choice with one easy math step, like D. 35 which is the average of 40 and 30, it will most likely be wrong as well.

Think about it: How could this be a hard problem if the math was short and easy?

So here we are having eliminated A, D & E - leaving us with a 50/50. NOW is the time to make a good guess.

B. smells fishy, it looks too close to 30. The answer has to be somewhere around the middle of the two numbers but less than the average (because 30 is slower than 40, it hogs more time).

C. fits the bill. It looks just right, being an "ugly" answer that is around the average.

It is the correct answer.

Less than 40% of 50,000 people answered correctly - yet it is one of the easiest "Hard" questions to guess the correct answer!

On guessing: if you have absolutely NO clue, then do NOT guess. It will hurt you. But if you can eliminate 2 or 3 answer choices, then I say: GO FOR IT!

Grid-In Fractions

If your answer is a fraction, do not bother to reduce.

2/4 is as good as 1/2 ~ the grading computer calculates the equivalent decimal and compares it to the acceptable answer automatically. [Thank you Princeton Review ~ their "Math Workout for the New SAT" is an excellent resource, one that I refer to often. If you can complete all of the problem types that they have in that book, you can score 600+]

I personally like using fractions [but hey, I'm a math geek]. The SAT makes it easier to use fractions and often there is very little math involved other than some simple multiplication and CANCELING, my favorite math activity. There is just something so enjoyable in striking through a number!

The one thing to consider is that 1/2 is three bubbles to fill in, whereas its decimal equivalent .5 is only two bubbles to fill in. It may sound trivial but less bubbles to fill in means more time solving problems.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Perfect Score

Congratulations to KZ, my first student to score an 800 on a section of the SAT.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Scores are out today

Check online and go get your scores!