This is actually a helpful section that can improve your score on other parts of tests. Still—it’s a bit weird. The questions deviate from the rest of SAT Writing and throw out a big chunk of text, requiring you to switch gears. Rather than obsessing over the individual components of sentences and tweaking them (like in Sentence Correction and Error ID), you’re now looking at a whole piece of writing.
Skills Tested in This Section
Knowing Good vs. Bad Organization
You might be tired of hearing about “body paragraphs,” but they are important here. Pick out the building blocks: topic sentences, supporting details, and transition sentences. Are these components there? How are they being used? Are they adhering to a basic structure?
Coherence over Content
You just need a general understanding of what the topic is. Beyond that, don’t worry about making inferences or deciphering what the author is trying to say about the topic. The priority is making sure that everything is in the right place and that it flows. If you find the paragraph topic, how can the paragraph be re-arranged to make it a little clearer?
How this can help with your Essay
This is a “Don’t Let This Happen to You”-type deal. All of the Writing multiple choice questions have an overlap with the essay; grammar is an important part of both. However, the Paragraph Correction sentences are especially relevant because they focus on organization. Studying for this helps you practice your essay. The paragraphs display examples of poor writing to avoid when writing your essay.
Do you recognize the mistakes displayed in these questions in your own writing? Have you made the same mistakes? Practicing these questions gives you a chance to proofread and check for organization, which is precisely one of the things your essay scorer will be doing.
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About Tanya Shah
Tanya has taught advanced English and test prep for over five years, and sees standardized tests as solvable puzzles. When she's not reading or writing, she is sampling local bakeries or enjoying the outdoors with her dogs.
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