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The verbal section of the SAT is broken up into two segments, the SAT Reading section and the SAT Writing section. The reading section focuses on your ability to read and interpret texts, but the writing section is more concerned with your ability to proofread materials and make improvements. In a lot of cases, these questions will be based on poorly written passages that you need to make improvements on. Before you are ready to take the test, it is important to know the rules, structure, and content of the writing section. You may also want to commit some time to working with private SAT Writing tutors who can help you look at the test the right way and avoid making a silly mistake.
The first things to know about this section of the test are that you are allowed 35 minutes to complete it and there are 44 multiple choice questions that you need to answer. The questions are based on four passages that you will also have to read in the allotted time, with 11 questions for each of the passages. The topics covered in those passages can be based in careers, social studies, humanities, or science. Careers is the least self-explanatory and might talk about trends in professional fields or debates going on in those industries. None of the passages are going to read like a fiction story, as each one is argument-based and explanatory. While you might want to read and analyze short stories or books to prepare for the SAT Reading section, the writing section is all about nonfiction, so you might want to read news articles instead, especially to get a sense for how news writers structure their stories and arguments. It can be a much more valuable resource than novels.
Now that you have an idea of what the test looks like, it is time to start talking about what you can expect to be tested on. The College Board breaks it down into five categories that questions might test. First is command of evidence, which is your ability to develop information and ideas into an argument. Questions might be about adding supporting details or sharpening an argument. Second are words in context, which is about word choice. Based on the sentence around it, you will be asked to make the word choice more concise and efficient or improve the syntax and tone. Third is expression of ideas, which can be about the way that the passage is organized. You could get asked about improving the structure of the passage by moving sentences and improving how points are made. Fourth are standard English conventions, which is where your ability to use punctuation comes into play. These questions are about that and tenses, subject-verb agreement, parallel construction, and more of the technical bits. Finally, analysis of history, social studies, or science can come up. Some tests also add charts and graphs into the equation with a passage analyzing them. Similarly, you will change parts of the analysis to make it stronger.
At this stage of the exam, you are going to need speed in both your ability to read the text and your ability to figure out the right answer to the question. The 35 minute time limit on 44 questions and four passages leaves under a minute per question and that is without even including the time it takes to read the passages. Working with SAT Writing tutors near me is a good way to turn around the odds, so you are prepared for the short time frame and also get the answers right.
In understanding what it takes to be a great member of our private SAT Writing tutoring team, it is important that you recognize what things are necessary and helpful to study before taking the test. The best tutors will know what areas are good to cover and how to study those most efficiently. For example, as mentioned, the passages that you read are all going to be based on nonfiction writing. A smart tutor would have some good articles or examples that they can suggest as a resource to study what kinds of passages will be seen on the test. Knowing how to approach the study is almost as important as knowing the content that you are expected to know. The only way to know what is useful and what is not is through practice and experience, which is why tutors are such a great resource.
One of the first areas that you should look to study for this part of the exam is at grammar rules. Almost half of the questions in the writing section are going to ask you to fix a grammatical error or error in punctuation, so this is where you need to be strongest if you want to give yourself a good shot at getting most of the questions right. The benefit of working with a tutor is that they know all of the commonly tested grammar rules. The same way that we can immediately think of the affect/effect or their/they’re/there rules when you ask for words that are commonly misused, a great tutor knows exactly which grammar rules appear on the test and which are going to make you most confused. Subject-verb agreement and parallel structure are two concepts that you are bound to be tested on when you take the actual test. Beyond just grammar rules, learning to punctuate is key. Understanding when a clause actually needs a comma, as opposed to inserting where you think it sounds the best, is a skill that takes practice.
Beyond the simple grammar and punctuation rules, there are other resources that are smart to look at as well. For example, as mentioned, nonfiction articles are a great way to develop your editorial eye. Reading a few of these, you can get an idea for how writers structure their stories, starting at the key point and building out the world around it until you get to the end.
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