What Is Tested On The SAT Writing Section

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In order to earn a competitive composite score on the SAT, you will need to perform well on the SAT Writing and Language section of the test.

The SAT Writing and Language section offers 35 minutes for students to answer 44 multiple choice questions, making it essential for test takers to know exactly what types of questions they should expect to encounter so that they can work as efficiently as possible.

When it comes to receiving a high score on this section of the SAT, preparation is key.

Here is everything you need to know about this section so that there are no surprises on test day:

SAT Writing section layout

Before you take this section of the SAT, you are going to need to know more than just the number of questions you will have to answer and the amount of time allotted for you to complete them.

It is important that you are familiar with the layout of this section so you can maximize your time and score as highly as possible.

In this section of the SAT, you will encounter 4 passages spanning topics about professional careers, history and social studies, natural sciences, and humanities. You will typically see some sort of visual, like a chart or a graph, with the science passage, but you may also encounter visuals within the other passages as well. You will have to be able to interpret the data presented in these images.

For each passage you read, there will be eleven questions for you to answer using information from the passage. These questions will ask you to fix mistakes made in the passages. Here are examples of the types of questions you might see on the SAT Writing section:

  • Strengthen the passage (Command of Evidence): Should the writer add an additional sentence? Should the writer cut a sentence in order to eliminate redundancy or clarify the passage? These types of questions will require you to think about what moves will make the passage stronger.
  • Replace words (Words in Context): As you read the passage, you might notice instances where using a different word would better represent the ideas presented in the passage. You will have to determine if replacing a word will strengthen a sentence or if the best possible word choice is already in effect.
  • Strengthen ideas (Expression of Ideas): Similar to strengthening the passage, you will see some questions that ask you to rearrange, add, or remove sentences in order to strengthen the way the writers present their ideas in the passage.
  • Grammar and mechanics (Standard English Conventions): This is where you fix grammatical errors, punctuation errors, comma splices, and other grammar and mechanics issues within the passage.

Think of yourself as a teacher or an editor. Your job is to look at passages that are unclear, inefficient, and filled with mistakes, and make changes that will improve the overall quality, accuracy, and flow of the passage.

Preparing for the SAT Writing section

If you want to be prepared to answer all of the questions you will see on the SAT Writing section, you should consider taking a SAT prep course or working with a private tutor with PrepExpert.

PrepExpert has helped thousands of students increase their scores on the SAT, and it will help you get ready for the SAT Writing section.

Find out how PrepExpert can help you improve your composite SAT score when you visit our website.

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