Get Your Gear Going
Read the passage fast!
The more time you spent on reading the passage, the less time you have for working on the questions and choices which are the real challenges. Remember the passage is an early draft. There are flaws. It is true that the 6 questions in this sub-section will be about how you can improve the passage. Yet, there are certainly more than 6 ways to improve the passage. Don’t waste time editing the flaws which may not be asked. You don’t need to read the passage carefully at this stage. Don’t overload yourself with the details. Read it as quickly as possible to get the main idea of each paragraph and the writer’s attitude. It is a multiple-choice exam where the choices will give you clues and focuses to look out for. Go back to the relevant parts of the passage to verify the details after you have read the question and all the choices, instead of caring every specific detail at the start.
Build a solid foundation
I cannot stress enough that the 4 different sub-sections of the SAT Writing are closely intertwined, excelling at one sub-section will benefit another. You will find the Writing section much more manageable if you first build a solid foundation of effective standard written English by practicing Identifying Sentence Errors and Improving Sentences, and then apply the skills onto Improving Paragraphs and the Essay.
Commonly tested areas
1. Improving sentences
There are usually 1 or 2 questions in Improving Paragraphs which are very similar to Improving Sentences. You need to choose grammatically correct and the most effective sentence construction in accordance with standard written English. All areas tested in the Improving Sentences may appear in this sub-section.
The question format is not restricted to one underlining part of the sentence or the entire sentence. For example, the question may provide options for improving different parts of a sentence. However the questions are asked, they are essentially the same as Improving Sentences. That is, you need to improve part of a sentence or the entire sentence.
Although this area mainly deals with 1 sentence, considering the sentences preceding and following it may help. After all, in the actual SAT, questions are not categorized as intra-sentential or supra-sentential.
Below are a few examples of how questions similar to Improving Sentences are tested in this sub-section. Each question requires you to look at multiple commonly tested areas in Improving Sentences.
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(Next Tue: Improving Paragraphs cont’d)