This is a walk-through of ACT Practice Test 1, Reading Question 7, from page 181 of the ACT Red Book ((the only book that has *real* ACT questions/tests).
This question gives us a chance to take a look at some of the language games that the ACT plays in the reading section. The question asks us to choose the answer choice that “most accurately” expresses how a character feels. Many people will intuitively, subconsciously take that phrasing to mean that there is more than one “accurate” answer, and they must weigh their comparative accuracy and choose the one that is more accurate than the others. This is misleading – the only reason any answer choice on the ACT is ever “most accurate” is because it is the *only* answer choice that is accurate.
Another language game on this question involves the use of the word “feelings. The three distractors start off with words/phrases that intuitively register as emotions (e.g., “disappointed” and “offended). The correct answer does not. It starts off with “Fran knows…” Just remember – your ability to recognize and win these types of language games will have a significant impact on your ability to increase your ACT (or SAT) score.
*Answer choice A is a distractor because the passage simply does not say that Fran is disappointed by the shortness of the letter. Irrelevant.
*Answer choice B is a distractor because the passage simply does not say that Fran is happy to hear about Blake. Irrelevant.
*Answer choice C is a distractor because the passage simply does not say that Fran is offended by the tone of the letter. Irrelevant.
*Answer choice D is correct because the passage clearly says that Fran imagined Linda Rose writing a bunch of long letters and then throwing them away.
If you chose A, B, or C it’s probably because you were *not* reading in a hyper-literal way (which you must do to succeed on ACT reading). Instead, you may have been reading imaginatively, empathetically – putting yourself in Fran’s situation and imagining how you might feel. This is not the type of interpretation that will lead you to the correct answer on ACT reading. Every correct answer is simply a restatement (although often a somewhat tortured restatement) of what is spelled out in the passage.
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