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How to Ace the Writing Section of SAT? | Complete Guide SAT Exam – Writing Section

How to Ace the Writing Section of SAT? | Complete Guide SAT Exam – Writing Section

Every year millions of students appear for the SAT. It is an essential aptitude test for students seeking admission in the top American colleges. The SAT exam is conducted in the English language, and it consists of four sections: Reading, Writing & Language, and Mathematics with Calculator and without calculator. However, it's observed that Indian students face challenges to grab high SAT scores on average. This article is a guide to crack the writing section of the SAT exam.

How to Ace the SAT Writing Section?

The SAT Writing Section is the second section of the SAT exam and lasts for 35 minutes with a total of 44 questions. The section consists of 4 passages with 11 questions, each testing you on grammar, effective language use, logical cohesion etc. The test taker acts like an editor who has to correct the mistakes in the passages as he reads along. You will get approximately 45 seconds to solve each question as you read along. Below are the different question types that you'll see in the section:

Command of Evidence

These questions ask you to improve the passage in a way that strengthens or adds supporting details to the main claim of the paragraph or the passage. It may also ask you to add or delete a particular line for the same purpose above.

Words in Context

These questions require you to make the passage more to the point and improve the style, tone and syntax by choosing the appropriate words for the sentence or paragraph. The directions may be such that you have to replace a single word/multiple words in the paragraph.

Expression of Ideas

These questions ask you to improvise on the effectiveness of the text by keeping an eye on detail, logic, accuracy and efficient language use in the passage. They will make the passage more to the point and reduce any redundancy if present.

Standard English Conventions

These questions require you to make changes in the sentences with respect to Standard English grammar, usage and punctuation rules. You will have to follow rules of grammar like correct use of Tenses, Pronouns, Prepositions etc.

Topic Specific Area Analysis

These questions test your ability to read different topics of history, science and general studies so as to make editorial choices on how to make the passage better. Make relevant choices to reinforce the main idea of the passage.

While it may seem that there is less time to complete all the questions in time, it is possible with the right approach. Following some basic rules and keeping an eye on detail will help you improve your accuracy. Below are some of the tips that will be helpful in solving the various types of questions that are there in the Writing Section:

Tips & Techniques to Crack SAT exam's Writing Section

Tip No. 1: Read and Answer simultaneously: With a total of 44 questions to answer in 35 minutes, you get only 48 seconds to answer each question, so a thorough reading of the passage is not advisable. Skim through the passage and get a basic idea about the style and main idea, and pay more attention to the underlined segments which are connected to the questions. Once you have determined the answer to the related question, select the option and move ahead.

Tip No. 2: Answers should be Relevant and To the Point: Once you have eliminated the answer choices based on correct grammar and logic, you should also work towards reducing redundancy by your selection. Any answer choice that makes the passage unnecessarily wordy should be avoided. Also, options that are going off-topic or are too vague can be eliminated easily.

Tip No. 3: Punctuation Rules should be on your tips: There will be at least two questions per passage that will be testing you on punctuation specifically. The four main punctuations that you will be tested on will be Commas, Semicolons, Colons and Dashes. Apostrophes are also tested but not that frequently. Also, there are many rules for the usage of these punctuations, but the SAT will test you on very specific rules and points of usage. Getting an idea of these will be extremely helpful.

Tip No. 4:  Correct Identification of the Relationship between Sentences: Some questions will ask you to select and make the correct transition between sentences or paragraphs so as to establish the correct relationship between the two ideas. There are mainly three types of transitions that are possible:

  • Addition: means one idea is building off another one or it's a sequence of events, so words like in addition, for example, furthermore, afterwards will be used.
  • Contrast: means that one idea is opposing the other one. Words like but, however, despite, unlike and on the other hand, may be the correct choices for this kind of relationship.
  • Cause and Effect: It means if one idea is leading to another or the former is the result of the latter. This relationship is depicted by words like therefore, since, because, consequently etc.

Tip No. 5: Attempt Longer Questions at the end: There may be some questions that ask you about placement and addition or deletion of sentences at specific places. Also, some questions may ask you to alternate complete or major portions of sentences that will require you to have a thorough idea of the passage, so such questions are better answered at the end after going through the entire passage.

Tip No. 6: Use the Process of Elimination: If you are not able to figure out the answer directly, try to identify the errors in the answer choices. Eliminate the answer choices one by one, and the option that you are left with at the end with no errors will be the correct answer. It is less common that no change will be the right answer, but it's not entirely untrue, there may be around 4 to 6 answers in the Writing section that may have "No Change" as the correct answer.

Now you are ready to ace the SAT writing section, but it is just not the end. Stay tuned for more tips and techniques to crack SAT exam's Reading, Mathematics and Essay sections. 

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