Practice with Improving Sentences for the SAT

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  • 0:00 Improving Sentences:…
  • 1:04 An Easier Example
  • 2:50 A Tougher Example
  • 4:13 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

With the 2016 changes to the SAT comes a new way at looking at an old skill: improving sentences. See how you'll be asked to improve sentences on this new version of the most popular college admissions test.

Things to Remember with Improving Sentences

The new SAT, released in March 2016, brings with it plenty of changes. Most notably, there is a transition from stand-alone questions to passage-based questions on the Writing and Language Usage test. However, that does not mean that all of your hard-won skills at improving sentences will go to waste. Far from it. In fact, you'll now find that you have more context with which to improve the sentences in question. In this lesson, we're going to provide a couple of examples to see how to improve sentences on the SAT.

However, in case you're a little rusty, keep a few facts in mind. First of all, the SAT no longer penalizes guessing. In other words, don't leave an answer blank. Next, remember that the SAT favors the active voice. That means that the emphasis of a sentence should be a doer doing something, not someone having something done to them. Additionally, style is a big deal on the SAT. Try to match the style that the author has developed elsewhere in the passage. Finally, remember that the SAT prefers brevity to long-windedness.

An Easier Example

Since many of the new SAT passages come from works you've probably already read, we'll do the same here. For this section, let's take a look at part of the Declaration of Independence:

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

For our purposes, we'll say that the text 'He made Judges' is underlined, meaning that is the subject of our question. Here are your answer choices:

A. He made Judges

B. He has made Judges

C. The King then having required that judges

D. He has having required that judges

First things first, remember that A is always the same text as what is listed in the passage. In other words, if you think the sentence is perfect, then choose A. However, I would strongly recommend that you check it against the other choices.

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