The Writing and Language Section consists of short passages that require your editing skills. You will have 35 minutes to answer 44 questions. With practice (ugh, that darn word keeps popping up!) you will quickly realize if you can afford to answer questions in order or if it will be more advantageous to answer the questions that don’t require context first. (You may decide you have to read the entire passage to answer the context questions.)
Staying calm is always easier said than done but remember that there is no advantage to having existing subject knowledge on the passage. It’s kind of like an editor, really. Editors have to be able to understand the passage’s tone and purpose while also ensuring it is grammatically correct. All of the questions in this section are multiple choice and approximately 25% of the editing questions will not require any change. (Read: Select answer A for those questions.)
What’s that? You don’t understand what we mean by selecting answer A? It’s OK. You’re going to P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E and get very comfortable with the test format so you don’t have to waste time reading instructions during the test, right? Also, this acquired familiarity is going to help you keep calm during the test. For this writing and language section as well as the others.
So, without further ado, let’s go over the three broad types of questions you will see in the SAT test writing and language section:
These are the most difficult from the time management perspective, because they can require you to potentially go back and re-read a passage that has been stretched out over a few pages. Context questions include mapping out the best placement for sentences or entire paragraphs; author’s main point; and evidence substantiation.
You will need to understand the sentence’s intention and keep an eye out for brevity and succinctness.
You will be quizzed on all the usual suspects: commas, semicolons and colons; subject-verb agreements; apostrophes; homonyms and more!