Issue 7: Are You Smarter Than Your High Schooler?

Issue 7: Are You Smarter Than Your High Schooler?

03 May, 2019

Do you remember whom Ross cheated with when he and Rachel were “on a break”? Your high schooler probably can tell you. Friends is huge among teens, and most can recite chapter and verse of every episode. But do you think they know what a check register is?

Welcome to the Throwback Issue of Are You Smarter Than Your High Schooler, a chance every week to take a nostalgic stroll with the ACT and SAT. This week, however, pays tribute to the days of future past on both tests.

The Math question is inspired by a very recent ACT word problem about yes, a check register. Do you think any high schooler knows what a checkbook is, much less a check register? That lack of familiarity distorts the level of difficulty of the problem for many.

While check registers have been resurrected from the dead, vocabulary flash cards have been relegated to the detritus of teen life of yore. The SAT dumped analogies in 2005 and sentence completions in 2016. But both the ACT and SAT continue to test vocabulary-in-context questions in the Reading sections, and each sprinkles similar questions through their respective grammar sections (Writing on SAT, English on ACT). These problems, however, are intended to test vocabulary more frequently used in college or the workplace (like “relegated”) than the obscure words of your teen nightmares (like “detritus”). The question below is based on one that could appear on the SAT Writing but could just as easily appear on the ACT English.

As with most questions on SAT Writing/ACT English, there is no actual “question”: just an underlined word and three other choices. Pick the word that best fits.

Good luck, and if you get stuck, page some friends for help. If they’re not there for you, maybe one will use a phone booth to return your call and leave a message on your answering machine.

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Melissa Hendrix
Noodle Pro Melissa Hendrix is a premier tutor of the SAT and ACT in Chicagoland. She has been a national leader in SAT and ACT preparation for 20 years, developing curriculum and strategies for...