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Answer Guide: Section 10 (Writing)

  • The test is available here:
  • Sentence Improvement
    • Question 1: In everything from finding comets to spotting supernovae, amateur astronomers have become so accomplished, and professional astronomers sometimes seek their help.
      • Your problem here is the use of the word “so”. It’s idiomatic in English that so + adjective must be followed by the word that.
      • Only C adds that.
      • Answer: C
    • Question 2: Since scientific advances are central to progress, basic research deserving continuing support.
      • This is an easy one. The verb should be in simple present tense, but instead it’s in gerund form.
      • C fixes this problem.
      • Answer: C
    • Question 3: With Americans consuming sugar in record amounts, nutritionists are urging the public to reduce its consumption of sodas, which have largely replaced other, more healthful, beverages.
      • There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this sentence.
      • Answer: A
    • Question 4: Experts disagree about what is the definition of intelligence and how to measure it.
      • This sentence is wordy and awkward-sounding. Even changing “what is the definition” to “what the definition is” wouldn’t be much of an improvement.
      • Because it’s a list (the scientists disagree about two things), both items on the list must be written in parallel form–either two verbs (defining and measuring) or two nouns (definition and measurement).
      • Only C takes this approach (with two verbs).
      • Answer: C
    • Question 5: The charges against the organization are being investigated by a committee, it includes several senators.
      • This sentence contains a comma splice–an entire sentence spliced onto another with a comma, not a semicolon or conjunction.
      • The way to correct this problem is to turn the underlined portion into a nonrestrictive clause using “which.”
      • E does this.
      • Answer: E
    • Question 6: Travel writing often describes a journey of exploration and endurance, a trip that is risky either because of natural hazards but also because of political unrest.
      • This sentence has a problem with correlative conjunctions. When we contrast two options using the word “either,” the first option must follow “either and the second must follow “or”. We can’t combine either/or with not only/but also; we must choose.
      • D changes but also to or.
      • Answer: D
    • Question 7: Though they had earlier indicated otherwise, it was eventually decided upon by the legislators to have the bill passed.
      • This sentence contains an unnecessary use of the passive voice.
      • Eputs the verb in the active voice. It’s also the shortest option.
      • Answer: E
    • Question 8: Spread by rat fleas, millions of people in medieval Europe were killed by bubonic plague.
      • This sentence has two problems–a misplaced modifier (since when do rat fleas spread people?) and an unnecessary use of the passive voice.
      • Choice E fixes both problems by making plague the subject of the sentence and putting the verb in the active voice.
      • Answer: E
    • Question 9: Traditional Jamaican music, enriched with rock, jazz, and other modern rhythms from America, were the basis for reggae.
      • The problem here is subject-verb agreement. (The underlined verb is a clue.) The subject “music” conflicts with the verb “were.”
      • D changes “were” to “was” without adding new errors.
      • Answer: D
    • Question 10: James Barrie, the author of Peter Pan and other plays, is noted for portraying adulthood as unpleasant and childhood is glorified.
      • The problem here is non-parallel structure. Barrie portrays adulthood one way and childhood another–but the grammatical construction of the two portrayals should remain the same.
      • C mirrors “adulthood as unpleasant” with “childhood as glorious.”
      • Answer: C
    • Question 11: Medical insurance coverage that requires high monthly premiums and that is beyond the financial means of many people.
      • This sentence has no main verb, thanks to the use of that.
      • Option E removes that and otherwise leaves the sentence unchanged.
      • Answer: E
    • Question 12: Among the most flavorful cuisines in the United States, New Orleans has also become one of the most popular.
      • Is New Orleans a cuisine? No, it’s a city!
      • Only C corrects this without introducing new errors.
      • Answer: C
    • Question 13: Meals prepared by the Algonquin Indians, who were farmers as well as hunters, included more maize and pumpkin than other Indian tribes.
      • This sentence actually compares the meals prepared by the Algonquins to other Indian tribes. It’s not comparing food with food–it’s comparing food with people!
      • The correct answer must compare meals to meals. Only B does this without introducing new errors.
      • Answer: B
    • Question 14: Born of Ibuza parents in Nigeria, novelist Buchi Emecheta moved to England in 1962, since which she has lived in North London.
      • If nothing else, which cannot be used to refer to a time.
      • Both B and D sound promising, since both B and D use the construction “lived since then,” rightly putting the verb first. However, only B uses the present perfect verb “has lived,” which goes with the word “since” and indicates that Emecheta still lives in London.
      • Answer: B
  • Recommended supplementary material to view SAT questions featured in lesson answer guides: The Official SAT Study Guide by the College Board.

Answer Guide: Section 10 (Writing)

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:11
  • Sentence Improvement 0:28
    • Question 1
    • Question 2
    • Question 3
    • Question 4
    • Question 5
    • Question 6
    • Question 7
    • Question 8
    • Question 9
    • Question 10
    • Question 11
    • Question 12
    • Question 13
    • Question 14