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SAT Success: Tips for the Multiple-Choice Writing Section

Part of the SAT For Dummies Cheat Sheet

To do well on the SAT Multiple-Choice Writing section, you should be familiar with the main rules of grammar. As you read each SAT multiple-choice question, look for errors in the following grammatical areas:

  • Verbs: Check that the tense (past, present, and future, for example) and number (singular or plural) of the verbs fit in the sentence.

  • Pronouns: Check that the number (singular or plural) and case (subject, object, or possessive) fit the sentence and that each pronoun clearly refers to an identifiable noun or pronoun in the sentence.

  • Word choice: Look for words that are often confused to make sure they’re used correctly (affect and effect, for example).

  • Complete sentences: Check to see whether two complete sentences are improperly joined together (with no conjunction or semicolon) or whether a so-called sentence is really just a fragment.

  • Parallel structure: Be sure all the elements in the sentence that are doing the same job have the same grammatical identities.

  • Concise expression: Steer clear of unnecessary words.

  • Descriptions: Check the location and clarity of all adjectives, adverbs, and descriptive phrases (ideally, they’re near the words they describe).

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