Demystifying the New SAT Writing and Language Test

SAT Writing and Language questions require you to play the role of editor, not writer. As such, you will be asked to: find the most concise and/or accurate way to express a thought or opinion; describe a person, situation, or action; reorganize sentences within a paragraph; and connect paragraphs for maximum clarity. Often the difference between a correct answer and an incorrect answer is a single word, or the location of a word within a passage or an answer. This may not be as hard as it sounds, but it does take practice.

New SAT Book:

Examples:

In many undergraduate physics textbooks the event is presented as an example of elementary forced (4) resonance; the wind providing an external periodic frequency that matched the natural structural frequency. Luckily, a movie camera caught the whole event (5) in its entirety and so we know that the real cause of the bridge’s failure was aero-elastic flutter resulting from strong winds gusting to 42 miles per hour.

4. (A) NO CHANGE
(B) resonance; the wind is providing
(C) resonance; the wind had provided
(D) resonance, the wind provided

5. (A) NO CHANGE
(B) entirety, and so we know
(C) completely. We therefore know
(D) and helped to prove

Question #4 combines verb tense and punctuation. Certain punctuation marks end sentences or connect two complete sentences. Sentence parts and punctuation marks must work together to give logical structure to the sentence. Answer: (C)

Question #5 deals with concision. Often, shorter answers are better choices, as long as they do not omit essential characteristics. Answer: (D)

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