How Cork can Increase Your Test Score

One of the most common reasons students miss questions in the SAT W & L section / ACT English section is that they don’t read far enough BEFORE or AFTER the indicated portion. Take a look at an example:

“There, during the boat’s successful journey on the Douro RIVER, IN THE COUNTRY OF PORTUGAL, Pollack’s dream was fully realized.”

Which of the following should go in place of the portion in ALL CAPS:
A. NO CHANGE
B. River, which is a river in Portugal,
C. River in Portugal,
D. River,

Now, If you ONLY look at this sentence, choices C and D look equally good (most of my students who get this one incorrect choose C.) However, look at the sentence in the context of the previous sentence:

“In 2002, the company that had donated thousands of corks to Pollack’s project sponsored the vessel’s launch in Portugal. There, during the boat’s successful journey on the Douro RIVER, IN THE COUNTRY OF PORTUGAL, Pollack’s dream was fully realized.”

See?! If you look at the previous sentence as well, you can see that choice C is wrong because it’s REDUNDANT. The author just told us we were in Portugal; it would be redundant to say it again. Choice D is, therefore, the correct answer because it’s the only choice that doesn’t repeat “Portugal.” See how RIDICULOUSLY EASY this problem is when you read just a little more?! That’s my job – making the test RIDICULOUSLY EASY for your kids!

By the way, the passages on the ACT and SAT are super interesting. This one is about a boat made fully out of used wine corks – an actual boat that this guy John Pollack built! I’ve included a photo of it.

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