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Essay and Writing

SAT Review of Improving Paragraphs

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Overview The Improving Paragraphs subtest of the SAT Writing Test allows students to demonstrate editing and revision skills on a larger scale than the Improving Sentences section. They are required to read portions of a rough draft of an essay and make judgments about word usage and organization. Questions are multiple-choice in this section. Methods…

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SAT Review of Improving Sentences

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Overview The Improving Sentences subtest of the SAT Writing test looks very similar to the Identifying Sentence Errors subtest. Students are expected to focus upon one phrase within a target sentence and follow directions to choose the same phrase or among four different alternatives. The goal is to produce a sentence that is clear, concise,…

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SAT Review of Characteristics of Effective Writing

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Overview The SAT tests writing skills for prospective college students with sentence-based and paragraph-based multiple-choice questions, as well as an essay on demand. Some of the characteristics of effective writing include consistency, logical expression of ideas, clarity and precision, and appropriate use of conventions. Since students must be able to recognize errors in their own…

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SAT Review of Identifying Sentence Errors

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Overview One of the subtests of the SAT Writing portion is Identifying Sentence Errors. These multiple-choice questions ask students to recognize errors in grammar, usage, word choice, and idioms. During preparation for the SAT, it is best to identify the error and correct it. There are a few sentences that don’t have any errors at…

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SAT Review of Practice for the Essay Section

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Overview The essay section of the SAT Writing exam gives students the opportunity to write a coherent first draft of an essay in response to a prompt. It is usually the first section of the exam. The topic of the essay is presented in question form, and is accompanied by one or two quotations. The…

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Vocabulary Review for the SAT

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Overview Students develop a good vocabulary as one of the advantages of going to college. It is a result of reading scholarly texts, writing papers and essays, and listening to professors expound on a myriad of subjects. The SAT tests vocabulary directly through sentence-completion and reading-passage questions, and indirectly through appropriate word choice in the…

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Deciphering Meaning from Reading Passages on the SAT and ACT

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Overview Questions about longer reading passages on the SAT, ACT, and other standardized tests tap students’ abilities to find and use meaning from what they read.  These skills are important to college success, as students are expected to read and understand textbooks in unfamiliar subjects.  Students are expected to extract the main ideas from what…

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Recognizing Nonstandard English: Diction Errors

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Overview Diction errors are types of errors when the incorrect word is used in a nonstandard way.  Some word usage is colloquial: out of place in a formal essay.  Other errors in word usage occur when similar words are used in the incorrect context. What about Lots or A Lot? The use of lots or…

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Appropriate Sentence Construction for the SAT and ACT

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Overview: Some grammar questions on standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT ask students to apply the rules they have learned about sentence construction.  Sentence prompts may include dangling clauses, free-standing phrases, and run-on sentences.  The task is to choose the rewritten sentence that makes the most sense without changing the author’s intended meaning.…

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Review of Nonstandard English: Idiom Errors

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Overview:  What Do the SAT and ACT Test in English Grammar? The SAT and ACT test for formal, academic, standard English, which is not necessarily the same way that students speak or write.  Many errors are especially insidious because the correct form and the incorrect form are very close.  However, some idiom errors involve words…

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