SAT Tutor Terri K. of Prepped & Polished, LLC in South Natick, Massachusetts teaches you five tips and one bonus tip for sentence improvements on the SAT writing section

Today, I’m going to share five tips with you on how to master sentence improvements on the SAT. Proven sentences are part of your writing score, along with correcting sentence errors, improving paragraphs and the essay. Students often find this section quite daunting because it tests their ability to correct faults in usage and sentence structure and recognize effective sentences that follow the conventions of standard written English. Let’s look at some tips on how to approach sentence improvements on the SAT.

Tip 1: Read Carefully

Read the entire sentence carefully but quickly before you look at the answer choices. Ask yourself whether the underlined portion is correct or if it needs to be revised. Let’s look at this example.

The president worked hard to implement legislation that would stimulate growth, curb inflation, and increase employment.

Does that underlined portion sound correct, or does it need to be revised? Well, to my ear, it sounds concise. It seems like it has a good parallel structure and stimulates curve increase, but I want to be sure.

Tip 2: Dont Waste Time

Don’t waste time reading choice A carefully. It’s the same as the original phrasing, the underlined portion. Pick choice A only if the sentence is good to go. Once you identify an error, you can eliminate answer choice A and cross it off. Just a tip for you: choice A is used as frequently as answer choices B, C, D, and E.

Tip 3: Dont Read the Choices

Do not read the choices on their own. Read choices B through E. Replacing the underlined part of the sentence to determine which revision results in a clear, precise sentence that meets the requirements of standard written English. My first inclination was correct. Choice A was definitely the most concise and had perfect parallel phrasing, so choice A would be the correct answer, and that’s the same as the underlined.

Tip 4 Aggressively Identify Common Problem Areas

Aggressively identify common problem areas in sentences. Eliminate answers that do not fix the problem. You should have a mental checklist about common grammar issues on the SAT. It could be sentence-verb agreement issues, pronoun-antecedent, idiom errors and misplaced modifiers are the most common errors that occur, and you should run through them as you look at a sentence.

Tip 5: Eliminate any answer choice that changes the meaning of the original sentence

This is a brief tip but a very important one: eliminate any answer choice that changes the meaning of the original sentence. So read carefully.

Bonus Tip

If you get down to two error-free answer choices, select the most concise one because wrong answers are often wordy, long, and unclear.

Hope these tips and examples will help you master sentence improvements on the SAT. Remember you’re just trying to make sentences sound better. That’s all there is to it.

Good luck.

Are you getting ready for the SAT? Which of Terri’s sentence improvement tips for SAT writing section did you find most helpful?

Post your tips/comments below.

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