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Except & Not Questions

One of the more common silly mistakes made by students on the ACT Reading test is giving the question the “opposite” answer. For example, let’s say the question asks, “All of the following are true EXCEPT…” If you give them an answer that IS TRUE, it’s wrong! The question is really looking for what is NOT true.

In an except question.

Three answer choices will contain true, “correct” observations based on the passage – but these are WRONG.

One answer choice will contain false, “incorrect” observations based on the passage – and this is the RIGHT ANSWER!

Students who don’t check all four choices (an important safeguard strategy) can fall into this trap when they identify the “right” answer and then pick it instantly without realizing that they should be looking for the WRONG one! So pay extra attention to questions that contain EXCEPT and NOT. Here’s an example:



Here’s the solution & discussion:

About the Author:

I’m Rob Schombs, the founder of Reason Prep, creator of these videos, and your test prep tutor. I earned a BA in Chemistry (2006) and an MA in Science and Technology Studies (2009) from Cornell University. In 2010 I started tutoring SAT, ACT, math, chemistry, and writing full-time, and Reason Prep followed shortly after!

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4 comments on “Except & Not Questions”

  1. Prince

    So the j answer is it True or false?

    • Robert Schombs

      J is false

      • Memory

        How is it false when the sentence agrees that except J.agrees=true .

      • Robert Schombs

        The question is asking which of the following is NOT true based on the passage.

        J is not supported by the passage (i.e. it’s false). Therefore it’s the answer to this question.

        Let me know which part of that explanation doesn’t make sense if you’re still unclear about it!