SAT Math: Arithmetic

Inclusive Numbers

Tammy will be on vacation from July 3rd through July 18th, inclusive.  How many days will Tammy be on vacation?

A.       15

B.       16

C.       17

D.       20

E.        21


Knowsys Method

Read the question carefully.  If you miss the word “inclusive,” you will get the wrong answer.

Identify the bottom line.  You need to know how many days.  Make a note in your scratch work that this is the question that you must answer.  D = ?

Assess your options.  You could try to count out the days, but you might make a mistake and there is an easier method.  For inclusive numbers you must include the first day in your count, not simply start counting at the first day.  The fastest way to get the answer is to (1) Subtract the smaller number from the larger number and (2) add 1 to the difference.

Attack the problem.  Once you know what to do, don’t hesitate!  Start plugging in the numbers from your problem.

18 – 3 = 15      (Many students will stop here.  However, you need to include the first day in your count)

15 + 1 = 16

Loop Back.  You solved for the number of days, and you made sure that you have the inclusive number.  You are ready to look down at your answer choices.

The correct answer is (B).


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SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

 Sentence Completions

Select the word that best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

Alfons Mucha saw The Slav Epic as the ------- of his life’s work in the visual arts; this series of paintings was intended to celebrate Slavic history and become the artist’s ultimate legacy.

A. veneration

B. decorum

C. culmination

D. nadir

E. cacophony


Knowsys Method

Always start by covering up your answer choices so that they do not distract you.  Read the sentence carefully.  This series of paintings plays a certain role in Mucha’s life work.  The paintings were also intended to become “the artist’s ultimate legacy.”  From these context clues, you can predict that Mucha considered these paintings to be very important, the high point of his career.  Predict the phrase “most important part” and look down at your answer choices.  For each choice, ask yourself whether this word means “the most important part.”

A.       The Latin root “vener” means respectful.  The whole word means praise.  While Mucha probably wanted the praise of others for his work, this does not match your prediction.  This answer choice puts the spotlight on Mucha’s previous work rather than showing that The Slav Epic is to be his “ultimate legacy.”  Eliminate it.

B.      Don’t confuse the word “decorum” with the word “decorate” assume that it has to do with the visual arts.  Decorum is proper behavior.  This does not match your prediction.  Eliminate it.

C.      The culmination of something is its highest point.  This matches your prediction exactly.  Keep it and quickly check the remaining choices.

D.      The word “nadir” is the opposite of your prediction.  It means the lowest point.  Eliminate this choice.

E.       The word “cacophony” should be connected with sound in your mind.  The Greek root “cac” means bad.  The Greek root “phon” means sound (think of the telephone).  Therefore, this word indicates a bad sound.  You are looking for something positive.  Eliminate this choice.

The correct answer is (C).


Words used in this SC:

Ultimate: the final or the greatest

Legacy:  something left behind once a person is gone

Veneration: profound reverence or respect

Decorum: appropriate behavior

Culmination: the highest point

Nadir: the lowest point

Cacophony: a harsh or jarring sound


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SAT Writing: Improving Sentences

Improving Sentences

Select the choice that results in the best sentence – the sentence that follows the requirements of standard written English and communicates effectively.

The phone which had been dropped into the pool, never worked properly.

A.      phone which had been dropped into the pool,

B.      phone, which had been dropped into the pool,

C.      phone, that had been dropped into the pool,

D.      phone that had been dropped into the pool,

E.       phone had been dropped into the pool,


The Knowsys Method

Read the entire sentence carefully, listening for errors.  Then focus on the underlined part.  Evaluate it by checking it against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  If you find an error, use that error to quickly eliminate any answer choices that do not fix the problem you found.

The grammar rule that is tested here is idioms!  When do you use the word “that” and when do you use the word “which"?  The word “that” is for phrases that are vital to a sentence.  The word “which" is for phrases that can be omitted.  This author chose to use the word "which," but it is not used correctly.  Remember your Knowsys tip:  Always put a comma before the word “which."  Make that correction and then look down at your answer choices.

A.       The first choice is always the same as the original!  Selecting it is the same as selecting “no change." This choice cannot be correct because you found an error.  Eliminate it.

B.      This answer choice matches your prediction exactly!  Quickly check the other choices.

C.      This answer choice adds a comma, but it is in front of the word “that."  You do not need a comma in front of the word “that;"  you need a comma in front of the word “which."  Eliminate this choice.

D.      This answer choice changes “which" to “that," but it still fails to use the correct punctuation.  Remember that commas often help set off nonessential information.  In the correct choice, the comma signals that a nonessential phrase is coming, this information is confirmed with the word “which," and then another comma signals the end of the nonessential information.  If the phrase starts with the word “that," then no commas are needed in this sentence because all of the information is essential.  This choice has a comma error.  Eliminate it.

E.       This answer choice eliminates the word “which" altogether, which creates a structural problem in the sentence.  Now the information that the phone had been dropped seems to be the main point of the sentence.  The words “never worked properly" seem to modify or describe the pool rather than the phone.  This choice is awkward and incorrect for multiple reasons.  Eliminate it.

The correct answer is (B).


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