Writing Workbook for the New SAT (Barrons SAT Writing Workbook)


Choose the answer that best follows the requirements of standard written English. Questions 30—35 refer to the following passage. Which of the following is the best way to deal with sentence 1 reproduced below? No student of American history can avoid having learned about a great technological feat, the building of the transcontinental railroad in the middle of the nineteenth century.

A Make no changes. B Switch its position in the essay with that of sentence 2. In context, which of the following is the best way to revise the underlined words in order to combine sentences 4 and 5? It was a great physical achievement. In accomplishing this great feat of engineering, the workers were exploited and many of them died.

Which of the following ideas is the best to add to sentence 9 in order to link it to sentence 8? A Consequently, B Because laborers were pushed to complete the work as quickly as possible, C On the other hand, D With regard to taking advantage of the Chinese laborers, E A good example of exploitation is that Which of the following best describes the relationship between sentences 9 and 10?

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This thoroughly revised edition of Barron's Writing Workbook for the New SAT prepares students for the writing sections of the newly redesigned SAT: THE SAT . Editorial Reviews. From the Inside Flap. Table of Contents: Greetings from the Author SAT Writing Overview SECTION ONE: THE WRITING AND LANGUAGE.

A Sentence 10 provides material that illustrates the statement made in sentence 9. B Sentence 10 proves the validity of the point made in sentence 9. C Sentence 10 introduces sources of information that confirms the truth of sentence 9. D Sentence 10 offers an alternative point of view about the point made in sentence 9. E Sentence 10 restates opinions expressed in sentence 9. Which of the following would be the best sentence to insert before sentence 13 to introduce the last paragraph? A Building the railroad was such an expensive undertaking that no private individual of that era could afford to finance the whole thing.

B Paying for the construction of the railroad left the federal government with a mountain of debt. C One set of construction crews started building from the east to the west, while another began in the west and built eastward. D The building of the railroad was indeed an American milestone. E The Pacific Railroad Act, a document rushed through Congress, was grossly over-generous in its benefits to the builders. What material is the most appropriate to add immediately after sentence 14?

A How the four business tycoons happened to meet and form a partnership B The facts that convinced the four men to build the railroad C Reasons why shoddy construction methods were used D Details about unethical business practices during the construction of the railroad E An account of how the eastbound and westbound tracks met in Utah in End of Section 2. Do not return to Section 1. Do not proceed to Section 3 until the allotted time for Section 2 has passed.

Tony showed three college acceptance letters to his counselor, he said that NYU was definitely his first choice. A Tony showed three college acceptance letters to his counselor, he B Three college acceptance letters, which were shown to his counselor by Tony, who C Three college acceptance letters were shown by Tony to his counselor, then he D After showing three college acceptance letters to his counselor, Tony E Tony, having shown three college acceptance letters to his counselor, he 2.

Before going on the senior class trip, a parental permission slip must be filled out for each student. A a parental permission slip must be filled out for each student B a student must have their parental permission slips filled out C their parents must fill out a permission slip for each student D a student must have a parental permission slip filled out E permission for each student must be filled out by their parents 3. To think that only money motivates people to choose a career in professional athletics is wrong because in sports many people do it to find personal satisfaction. A wrong because in sports many people do it to find personal satisfaction.

A B C D E he gave military secrets to the enemy giving military secrets to the enemy gives military secrets to the enemy military secrets were given to the enemy the enemy received military secrets from him 6. Essential for doing business or just staying in touch with family and friends, cell phones, they are increasingly popular. A B C D E cell phones, they are increasingly popular their popularity is growing they have become more popular cell phones are increasingly popular cell phones, they have grown more popular 7.

When you read at a very fast rate, your eyes often skip words, and your mind grasps the meaning nevertheless. A When you read at a very fast rate, your eyes often skip words, and your mind grasps the meaning nevertheless B When you read at a very fast rate, your eyes often skip words, your mind nevertheless grasps the meaning C Because you read at a very fast rate, your eyes often skip words, and your mind grasps the meaning nevertheless D When you read at a very fast rate, your eyes often skip words, but your mind grasps the meaning nevertheless E Reading at a very fast rate, words are skipped by your eyes even when your mind grasps the meaning 29 9.

The custom of naming ships after dead war heroes has been practiced through many countries in honoring their military personnel. A B C D E through many countries in honoring their through many countries to honor its in many countries; it is to honor its by many countries to honor their by many a country to honor their In , the cost of a gallon of gas increased considerably, while continuing to grow in Drive-in restaurants that serve fatty food can be found along almost every main highway in the country, this explaining why so many Americans are overweight. A B C D country, this explaining why country, this is why country; this fact explains why country; this fact explaining the reason why E country, and explains why Many problems among the faculty developed after Mr.

Atkins took over as principal of the school; these problems diminished both the reputation and the performance of the school. A school; these problems diminished both the reputation and the performance of the school B school, they both diminished the reputation and performance of the school C school, which both diminished its reputation as well as diminished its performance D school; these problems diminished its reputation and performance E school, and they diminished its reputation as well as performance End of Section 3.

Do not return to Sections 1 or 2. Rate each one on a scale of 6 high to 1 low , and write a comment about your impressions in the spaces provided. Give a 0 to any essay not on the assigned topic. Then compare your comments with those of two SAT evaluators. Finally, after rereading and scoring your own essay using the Self-Scoring Guide, find an informed and impartial reader to give your essay a second evaluation.

The original essays were written by hand, but these have been typed exactly as written. There are many students who work hard, yet do not receive high grades. However, if they are unable to retain the knowledge they have been taught, then they should receive the grade they deserve. If the system were to change and every student who tried hard received a high grade, how would we differentiate between those who are truly gifted and those who merely make an effort?

This is especially important in high school and college, where intelligence matters a lot. I, for one, would not want to go to a dentist or a doctor who got good grades in dental or medical school because they tried hard. I would want the best there is to take care of me. In younger years of schooling, on the other hand, effort should be given some credit, but as junior high approaches, students should be divided by ability. This division should be made apparent within their grades. The system of high grades for achievement should apply in every academic subject.

When electives are involved, a different process could be used. If someone is not artistic or athletic, but tries hard, they should be awarded a grade for effort. However, their artistic and athletic classmates should be awarded a grade for ability. If we were to change this efficient system, the determination of placement of all students would be disrupted.

Your essay addresses the topic directly with a concise and forceful opening statement: Especially in the first paragraph you back up your opinions with interesting and specific supporting material. Your reference to doctors and dentists is particularly apt. Throughout the essay you maintain a consistent point of view and organize your ideas logically.

Sentences are varied and generally well-structured. Each reader gave the essay a score of 5, for a total score of Your grade realy depends on what kind of person you are. If your lazy and take everything as a joke. Never hand in work. If you re all around prepared student and you really try hard you should give someone high grades. I have had this experience in high school I have tried hard but have not achieved a lot though my effort. I did better on it. I think that during summer school I set a goal for myself and the teacher helped me.

The error-filled usage and confusing presentation of ideas suggest that you have severe problems with basic English expression. Your writing suggests that English may be your second language. Including a personal anecdote about your math class supports your point of view and indicates that you have learned a worthwhile writing technique that should serve you well on future essays.

Numerous problems in the essay point to a need for remedial work in writing before you attend college.

Each reader gave the essay a score of 1, for a total score of 2. Which is more important, achievement or effort? In which situations is one more important than the other? On the other hand, a student who is naturally gifted in the area of the hard course and achieves say a 95 test average with little or no work, should remain with their test grades for their final average. As must be evident to any one, a child in elementary school should be graded differently than a student at Harvard Law.

Effort should be regarded as the basis for grading of a very young student, because grades K-6 are crucial years when children must be shown the importance of effort. Students at Harvard Law are different. It is ridiculous to expect that we can use the same basis for everyone in the educational world. Everyone is an individual and should be treated like one.

You open your essay with an unnecessarily broad and pointless generalization about grades. Then you ask a couple of questions that suggest you are still searching for an idea to write about. The second paragraph, which might have served as a respectable opening paragraph, is more direct. It contains a strong topic sentence, but its development could be clearer and more economical.

The remainder of the essay consists of vivid examples to support your main idea. Sentences are varied and occasionally highly effective. The concluding idea, however, is not totally justified by the content of your essay. Overall, though, the essay attests to a measure of your promise as a writer. Each reader gave the essay a score of 4, for a total score of 8. I believe they deserve high grades for their effort. If they like a certain subject they tend to make an effort and do well in the class.

This type of student deserves a high grade. If the subject is disliked, the student still should strive and make an effort. They could have an attitude problem. If this student does badly, even if they try their best, I believe they deserve a high grade anyway. If a student is behind in their educational careers, it does not make any difference. If this type of student tries hard they should receive a high grade. Grades are not very important for this type of student. All they want is to graduate. They are usually at the bottom of the class academicly, studying is the last thing they do. Your essay, which focuses on the issue of grades and effort, takes into account the different needs of certain types of students.

In a few places, the essay suffers from incoherence, and throughout it demonstrates little mastery of basic English usage, especially in the proper use of pronouns. Each reader gave the essay a score of 3, for a total score of 6. No necessarily for their achievement.

Barron's Writing Workbook for the New SAT, 4th Edition

I believe that a system such as one based on effort would decrease the motivation for cheating. However, a system based entirely on effort might allow for an illiterate child who tries very hard to read to get excellent marks however never learn to read.

A common analogy might be a player on a team. Because ones effort, not achievement, would be rewarded, a student would have to display their own effort in their work, but more importantly, in the classroom. Your essay starts well and contains some interesting, although awkwardly worded, ideas about grades and effort.

The examples you present to support your view are not altogether clear or effective. Toward the end of the essay, the point is lost in a puzzling array of quotation marks and a hard-to-follow structure. Had you written more than one paragraph, the meaning of the essay might have been more transparent. What is important is the number that appears the top of the paper. In my opinion, this is the wrong way to look at education. If grades only reflected achievement, there would be almost no point in going to school because almost every student would take the easiest courses, or they would cheat, or find some other way—any way that works—to get that good grade.

Meanwhile, they would learn nothing. On the other hand, if students know that a good grade will come only after they put effort into their classes, not only will they work harder, but they would also learn something. In such cases, students will determine to put all they can into their studies. The easy way out will not pave the way to a high quality transcript. Therefore, grades should indicate neither achievement nor effort alone but a combination of the two criteria. Of all the courses I have taken in high school the one that means the most is Russian History and Literature.

In that course the teacher spelled out just what it takes to earn top grades. He expected that in a high-powered elective course with an academically bright population most of us students would earn The teacher insisted, however, that a grade should reflect the whole learning experience, not just how a student did on a particular test. He claimed that intelligent people have a responsibility to exert even greater effort than other people. This is a well-reasoned argument for learning.

Not only is the essay well organized, it consists of a coherent progression of ideas that demonstrate a high degree of competency in expressing yourself in writing. Each reader gave the essay a score of 6, for a total score of Enter your scores in the spaces provided, and calculate the average of the six ratings to determine your final score.

Writing Workbook for the New SAT

On the SAT itself, two readers will score your essay on a scale of 6 high to 1 low , or zero if the essay fails to respond to the assignment. The score will be reported to you as the sum of the two ratings, from 12 best to 2 worst. Or better, recruit two different readers to evaluate your essay. Remember, too, that SAT essays are judged in relation to other essays written on the same topic. Therefore, this scoring guide may not yield a totally accurate prediction of the score you can expect on the exam. For example, if your Multiple-Choice Raw Score was 35 and your Essay Subscore was 6, the table indicates that your final score on the test would be approximately half-way between and , or Although some choices contain multiple errors, only one or two major errors are explained for each incorrect choice.

Page numbers refer to relevant material for study or review. B Choice A violates the parallelism of the series of phrases. Choice B is the best answer. It expresses the third item in the list of home furnishings as a noun phrase parallel in form to a pottery kiln and high-tech stainless steel appliances. Choice C, by inverting the usual word order, is awkwardly expressed. Choices D and E violate the parallelism of the series of phrases. See Faulty parallelism, page , and Awkwardness, page D Choices A, B, and E incorrectly shift the verb tense from the past tense to other tenses.

Choice C is in the past tense, but it also contains the clumsy and pointless phrase having turned. Choice D is the best answer. It maintains a verb tense consistent with the rest of the sentence. See Shifts in verb tense, page C Choice A uses the singular pronoun it to refer to the plural antecedent schedules. Choice B uses an adjective, reckless, instead of the adverb recklessly. Choice C is the best answer. Choice D, like B, uses an adjective where an adverb is needed and also includes the clumsily worded construction and there is not. Choice E is clumsily expressed and, like A, uses a singular instead of a plural pronoun.

See Pronoun—antecedent agreement, page , and Faulty diction, page E Choice A contains a comma splice. It also uses the singular pronoun it to refer to the plural noun computers. Choice B includes an awkward construction, resulting from not knowing, and uses a singular pronoun it to refer to the plural noun computers. Choice C is excessively wordy. Also, the construction for the reason being that is not expressed in standard English.

Choice D uses the singular pronoun it to refer to the plural noun computers. Choice E is the best answer. See Pronoun—antcedent agreement, page , and Comma splices, page E Choice A uses a plural verb, were, with a singular subject, program. Choice B uses the objective case pronoun, them, instead of the possessive pronoun, their. Choice C uses a plural pronoun, their, to refer to a singular noun, program. It also includes the awkward and meaningless construction, their regard as being.

Choice D includes an awkward phrase, of regarding it. The sentence also fails to say who regards the program as an important aspect of high school Choice E is the best answer. See Subject—verb agreement, page , and Faulty pronoun case, page B Choice A includes a comparison that uses the word other, indicating that Annie Oakley is a cowboy, an unlikely identity for someone named Annie.

Choice C contains a comma splice.

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Choice D shifts the structure of the sentence and makes little sense. Choice E has the same problem as A. See Incomplete comparisons, page , and Comma splice, page B Choice A illogically compares residents of Chicago to the city of Minneapolis. Choice C correctly makes the intended comparison but includes a clumsy construction, have equally the right. Choice D illogically compares residents of Chicago to the city of Minneapolis. Choice E is a sentence fragment. See Faulty comparisons, page , and Sentence fragments, page D Choice A is unsatisfactory because the pronoun they fails to refer to any specific noun or other pronoun.

Choice B is unsatisfactory because the verbs spoils and enhancing are in different tenses. Choice C is similar to B; the tense of the two verbs should be the same. Choice E is unsatisfactory because the word order in the first clause is nonstandard. See Faulty pronoun reference, page , Shifts in verb tense, page , and Faulty idiom, page C Choice A is unsatisfactory because the shift in grammatical subject from passengers to searches leads to the awkward usage but there are not frequent.

Choice B contains a subordination problem. The sentence would be more effectively expressed if one clause were subordinated to the other. Choice D shifts the subject from passengers in the first clause to searching in the second clause. This shift leads to the awkward usage the searching of their bodies.

Choice E violates standard English idiom. See Shift in grammatical subject, page , and Faulty idiom, page A Choice A is the best answer. Choice B uses the plural verb have changed with a singular subject, concept. Choice C uses the singular verb has been with a plural subject, changes. Choice D uses the plural verb have undergone with a singular subject humankind.

Choice E uses the plural pronoun their to refer to a singular antecedent, humankind. Use its instead of their. See Subject—verb agreement, page , and Pronoun—antecedent agreement, page C Choice A contains a pronoun their, which fails to refer to any specific noun or other pronoun. Choice B twice uses the pronoun their. Neither refers to any specific noun or other pronoun. The pronoun its refers to tradition. Choice D makes a noun—verb error by pairing a singular verb explores with two nouns, stories and music.

See Faulty pronoun reference, page , and Faulty idiom, page C Faulty verb tense. The present tense should not be used to describe an event that took place in the past. When using more in making a comparison, use the positive form of the adjective as in more happy. The plural noun dilemmas requires a plural verb. When referring to a person, use the pronoun who rather than which. D Faulty verb tense. The past perfect tense should be used to express action completed prior to some other event or action. Use had preferred instead of will prefer. B Faulty pronoun reference.

The singular pronoun this fails to refer to any specific noun or other pronoun. Verbs in a series should be in parallel form. The plural noun Many requires a plural verb. Use have opposed instead of has opposed. Use gives them or an equivalent verb in the present tense. The singular noun examination requires a singular verb.

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Use does instead of do. Use either once more or again, but not both, because they are redundant. A Faulty verb tense. Use has been present perfect to refer to action that occurred in the past and is still in progress. In standard English usage, the idiom is significant to. Use to in place of for. A double comparison is created by adding —er to the adjective. Use larger instead of largest. B Faulty pronoun case.

Pronouns in a phrase beginning with a preposition between must be in the objective case. Use me instead of I. For example, Having learned about the impending hurricane, the residents evacuated their homes. In sentence 1, however, the writer intended to say that all students of American history have learned and continue to learn about the building of the transcontinental railroad. Therefore, a different form of the verb is a better choice. Choice A is an unsatisfactory answer because the sentence uses an incorrect verb form.

Choice B suggests that sentence 2 would serve as a better opening sentence of the essay. But because sentence 1 is more general, it is a more effective introduction. Choice D alters the intended meaning by improperly placing the focus of the sentence on students who studied American history long ago.

Choice E improperly deletes the comma and adds needless words to the sentence. E Although sentences 4 and 5 are grammatical, they are wordy. Choice A contains a comma splice. Two independent sentences may not be joined by a comma. Either a semicolon or a period and capital letter should be used. Choices C and D are unsatisfactory not only because they add irrelevant ideas to the essay, but they also create irrelevant links between the exploitation of the workers and other matters. It reduces the number of words, eliminates the repetition, and adds interest to the sentence by alluding to the fascinating contrast between the colossal achievement of building the railroad and its horrendous cost.

B Although sentences 8 and 9 are grammatically correct, to develop the essay more fully and to improve its coherence the relationship between the two sentences should be tighter. A transitional word or phrase is needed to explain the reason for unsafe conditions. Choices A and C are common and often useful transitions, but neither is appropriate in this context.

It provides an idea that clearly links the information contained in the two sentences. Choice D introduces an awkwardly expressed idea suggesting improperly that only the Chinese workers were exploited. Whether a piece of evidence is good or not should be left for the reader to decide. A Good writers take pains to write specifically. Choice A is the best answer. Along with sentence 11, it vividly details one of the perils faced by workers on the railroad.

Choices C, D, and E fail to describe accurately how sentence 10 supports or develops sentence 9. A The short last paragraph of the essay lacks a main idea. The two sentences contained in the paragraph refer to two different matters: What the paragraph needs is a topic sentence that somehow unifies these disparate concerns.

Choice B is an unsatisfactory topic sentence for this paragraph. It is better suited for a paragraph on the debt incurred by the government to pay for the railroad. Choices C, D, and E refer to matters related to the building of the railroad, but none of them focuses directly on the contents of sentences 13 and D Sentence 14 leaves the reader hanging. It asserts that greed drove the businessmen to engage in fraud but provides none of the gory details.

To be convincing, the paragraph needs to be developed with specific evidence and examples. Choices A, B, and E are related to the topic of the entire essay but have nothing to do with the issues raised in the last paragraph. Choice C may be a tempting answer because it suggests vaguely that the men condoned shoddy construction methods in order to save money, but that is a detail better left for later in the paragraph. It correctly describes the material that should follow sentence D Choice A is unsatisfactory because it joins two independent clauses with a comma.

Therefore, it is a comma splice. Choice B is a sentence fragment. It has a subject, letters, but it lacks a verb. Choice C is written in the passive voice and also contains a comma splice. Choice E contains two clauses with no grammatical relation to each other. See Comma splice, page , Sentence fragments, page , and Mismatched sentence parts, page D Choice A contains a dangling modifier; the clause that begins Before going should modify student instead of parental permission slip. Choice B uses a plural pronoun, their, to refer to a singular antecedent, student.

Choice C uses a pronoun, their, that lacks a specific reference to a noun or other pronoun. Choice E contains a dangling modifier; the clause that begins Before going should modify student instead of permission. See Dangling modifiers, page , and Faulty pronoun reference, page Choice B contains the awkwardly worded construction Although its being. Choice C creates a sentence containing a comma splice. Choice D includes because, an illogical word choice in the context of the sentence. Choice E contains a faulty modifier; the phrase that begins Calling it lacks an appropriate noun or pronoun to modify.

See Comma splices, page , and Misplaced modifier, page E Choice A contains a pronoun, it, that lacks a reference to a specific noun or other pronoun. Choice B shifts the verb from the present to the past perfect tense. Choice D contains an error in idiom. In context, satisfaction out of sports is nonstandard English. B Choice A violates the parallelism of a series. The first two accusations are stated as nouns— cowardice and desertion. The third should also be stated as a noun. Choice C violates the parallelism of a series. Choice D violates the parallelism of a series. Choice E violates the parallelism of a series.

See Faulty parallelism, page D Choice A incorrectly switches the grammatical subject from cell phones to they. Choice B uses a pronoun, their, that fails to refer to a specific noun or other pronoun. Choice C uses a pronoun, they, that fails to refer to a specific noun or other pronoun. Choice E incorrectly switches the grammatical subject from cell phones to they. See Shifts in grammatical subject, page , and Faulty pronoun reference, page Choice B misuses the word whereas, which means in view of the fact that.

Choice C contains the singular antecedent whale that disagrees with its plural pronoun they. Choice D contains faulty expression. It is the whale itself, not its size, that grows. Choice E sets up a faulty cause-and-effect relationship. See Faulty word choice, page , and Awkwardness, page D Choice A, although grammatically correct, ineffectively uses the conjunction and to link its two independent clauses.

Choice B contains a comma splice. Choice C illogically uses the conjunction and to link its two independent clauses. Choice E contains a dangling modifier; the clause that begins Reading at should modify your eyes or your mind instead of words. See Faulty coordination, page , Comma splice, page , and Dangling modifiers, page E Choice A is a sentence fragment; it lacks a main verb to go with author, the grammatical subject.

The —ing form of a verb e. Choice B contains mismatched sentence parts. It is the author, not the reader, who portrays the plight of women. Choice C is a sentence fragment; it lacks a main verb to go with reader, the grammatical subject. Choice D is a sentence fragment; it lacks a main verb to go with author, the grammatical subject.

See Sentence fragments, page , and Misplaced modifiers, page D Choice A contains an error in English idiom. In context the phrase through many countries is nonstandard. Choice B uses the singular pronoun its to refer to the plural noun countries. Choice C uses the singular pronoun its to refer to the plural noun countries. Choice D is the best choice. Choice E contains the plural pronoun their to refer to the singular noun country.

See Awkwardness, page , and Pronoun—antecedent agreement, page B Choice A contains a confusing sequence. The use of while suggests that and occurred at the same time. Choice C contains with continuing growth, a construction grammatically unrelated to the main clause of the sentence. Choice D contains a comma splice. Choice E is expressed in awkward, nonstandard language. See Faulty subordination, page , Mismatched sentence parts, page , and Comma splices, page D Choice A is a sentence fragment. Its grammatical subject, The Black Death, lacks a verb.

Choice B contains a clause its origin is thought. Choice C contains a misplaced modifier. See Sentence fragments, page , Comma splices, page , Misplaced modifiers, page , and Mixed construction, page Choice B contains a misplaced modifier. Both should modify reputation and performance instead of diminished.

Choice C is wordy. The word both and the phrase as well as are redundant. Choice D contains the pronoun its, which refers ambiguously to both faculty and school. Choice E contains a problem in subordination. See Faulty parallelism, page , Wordiness, page , Faulty pronoun reference, page , and Faulty coordination, page C Choice A uses an awkward phrase, this explaining. Choice B is a comma splice. Choice D contains a sentence fragment. Choice E contains a nonsensical construction: The subject restaurants is unrelated to the verb explains.

See Awkwardness, page , Comma splice, page , Sentence fragments, page , and Mismatched sentence parts, page Getting Set to Write Composing: Putting Words on Paper Editing and Proofreading: For one thing, writing an essay in twenty-five minutes may be a contradiction in terms. It expresses a point of view arrived at after reflection, analysis, or interpretation of a subject or issue. You learn to write by writing, by messing around with ideas and words, by experimenting, by practicing, and by doing what seasoned practitioners do when they face a sheet of blank paper or an empty computer screen: In preparation for the test, try out various processes while writing practice essays.

Then develop the one that enables you to work most rapidly and efficiently while producing the best results. In effect, make a plan for what to do during each stage of the writing process. The first stage, often called pre-writing, consists of everything that needs to be done before you actually start writing. During the second stage, composing, you choose the words and form the sentences that express your thoughts. And during the final stage, revising and proofreading, you polish and refine the text of your essay word by word, making it clear, correct, and graceful.

The truth is that these three stages overlap and blend indiscriminately. Writers compose, revise, and proofread simultaneously, they jot down sentences during pre-writing, and even late in the process may weave new ideas into their text. What works for you may be different from what works for others. But the three best ways for anybody to prepare are 1 to practice, 2 to practice, and 3 to practice some more.

Pick sample essay topics found on pages — Keep a record of how much time you spend thinking about the topic, how many minutes you devote to composing the essay, and how long it takes you to proofread and edit. As you practice, adjust the following plan until you get the timing that suits you best and produces the results you want: If necessary, number the sentences to make clear the order in which they are to be read.

Just make sure that the essay is readable. Essays of more than words are unnecessary. In fact, less can be more, for a shorter essay of, say, to words can focus sharply on a limited subject. It can also be written more quickly, leaving time for revising and polishing your work. Just keep in mind that quantity counts less than quality. Read it twice or three times, or until you are certain what is being asked of you. SAT essay prompts usually begin with a quotation or a short passage meant to draw you into an issue.

Their intention is to provoke thought and suggest an idea or two to discuss in your essay. The prompt may not turn you on right away, but once you begin to think about it, you may begin bursting with good ideas. As the writer, you are being challenged to write something so riveting that readers will resist the temptation of moving their eyes off of the page or letting their minds wander.

In a way, writing an essay is a lot like giving a gift to a friend. And if all goes well, you get a reward for your efforts. Underline the key words that define the task to be performed. Then, in the blank spaces, write the steps that you would take to respond to the topic. Topic A Think carefully about the issue presented in the following statement and the assignment below. Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end.

Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing. Denis Waitley, Seeds of Greatness Assignment: Is failure a temporary setback resulting from inaction or indifference? Plan and write an essay in which you explain and develop your view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and evidence drawn from your reading, studies, experience, or observation.

Or do you think that failure is like an unavoidable chronic disease over which we have no real control? Or do you stand somewhere between those two extremes? The essay you are asked to write should discuss your opinion. The position you take is less crucial than your ability to support your ideas with specific examples from your knowledge, background, or observation.

Examples may come from books, from your studies, from personal experience, or from what you know about the lives of others. An interesting and readable response to the question might be based on your own life. If you agree with the prompt, you might write about a failure you experienced in school, in a personal relationship, or in a task that you once undertook. Briefly describe the failure and explain its cause. Did it stem from your own apathy or inaction?

Explain how your lack of success led to temporary setback from which you may have learned a valuable lesson. On the other hand, through no fault of your own, you may have experienced a failure with lifealtering consequences. In that case, your essay might show that the prompt is seriously flawed and shortsighted.

Obviously, there are at least two sides to the issue. Whatever your position, however, be sure to include more than one example. Single examples rarely make convincing arguments. What you write depends largely on your interpretation of the word happiness. If you take it to mean a state of blissful well-being and unexamined contentment, then you might agree with the prompt. Questioning your own happiness may indeed lead you to the startling discovery that you are less happy than you thought.

Such an event may call to mind the fate of Adam and Eve. Once they tasted of the Tree of Knowledge, they lost their paradise forever. But if you think of happiness as a complex emotion requiring scrutiny from time to time, then your essay would take issue with the prompt. You may believe that absolute statements about happiness are foolish because happiness comes in many forms. Happiness experienced over a lifetime, for instance, differs greatly from short-lived merriment at a party on Friday night. Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be.

John Stuart Mill — Assignment: Does the need to question or evaluate your happiness mean that you are not as happy as you think? Plan and write an essay in which you state and develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with evidence drawn from your reading, studies, experience, or observation. A well-focused essay on a limited topic is always preferable to an essay that tries to cover too much ground in just a few paragraphs.

The sharper your focus, the better. If you are a fast writer, you might scribble well-chosen words onto the page in twenty-five minutes. If the topic is too broad, at best you are likely to state a few obvious generalities, resort to hackneyed ideas, and maybe even throw the bull a little bit.

Your first task, therefore, is to think small— to reduce the topic to a size snug enough to fit into a short essay. It may be useful to construct a ladder of abstraction. That is, start at the top with the most general word or phrase suggested by the topic, such as democracy, generosity, the human condition, politics, or acts of kindness. As you descend the ladder, make each rung increasingly specific. Stop when you reach the level that provides you with a topic sufficiently narrow for a short essay. Call the topic Communications. Communications Functions of communication Communications technology Communications media Electronic and digital communications The widespread use of cell phones Use of cell phones in public places Annoying aspects of cell-phone use in public An unpleasant encounter with a cell-phone user in the school library Highest level of abstraction Way too broad for a short essay Still too broad Still too broad Better, but still too broad Getting there, but still very broad Close, but not there yet An acceptable topic Definitely a topic for a short essay Topic 2: Athletics Athletes Professional athletics Baseball players Players vs.

Democracy Democracy Democracy in conflict with dictatorship Individual rights vs. Therefore, practice ahead of time, and by test day you may be able to jump mentally from the highest rung to the lowest without writing a word. Some writers find that a more efficient way to narrow a topic is to begin writing.

If the essay strikes them as dull or disappointing after a few sentences, they may realize that their topic was too vague, too broad, too boring and if the writer is bored, imagine what the essay will do to prospective readers. That minute you devote to narrowing the topic, therefore, may prove to be the most important sixty seconds of the exam. Practice in Narrowing Topics To reduce each of the following topics to a level of specificity appropriate for a short essay, build ladders of abstraction.

Keep descending until you have a truly concise topic. Celebrations Virtues of hard work Catastrophic success Red tape Change vs. That is, you need to devise an idea that will become the purpose, or point, of the essay. What counts in an essay is the statement you make about hard work, heroism, or beauty—in short, its main idea. Essays may be written with beautiful words, contain profound thoughts, and make readers laugh or weep. But without a main idea, an essay remains just words in search of a meaning. Any material that wanders from the main idea should be discarded.

It not only wastes words but detracts from the impact of your essay. Naturally, the main idea of your essay will depend on your response to the particular issue presented by the prompt. It will be a statement of your opinion.

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So, you think about the issue and narrow the topic by focusing on high school dress codes. Your main idea might be any of the following: High schools should be allowed to impose dress codes but only on students under age A strict dress code teaches students about living in a repressive society. A strict dress code encourages students to appreciate the rights that they will someday enjoy as citizens in a free society.

Using one of these main ideas as its starting point, the essay would then discuss the validity of your opinion. Another SAT question may ask you to address an issue related to teenage drivers. Or you might use the essay to prove that driving without seat belts is not a real issue because to do so is dangerous and stupid. The prompt gives you an issue to write about. The main idea is a statement of your opinion on the issue. The essay gives you an opportunity to develop support for your opinion using reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observation.

Does attitude determine success and failure in an endeavor? Plan and write an essay that develops and supports your views on this issue. If possible, choose a main idea that matters to you personally. An essay that is truthful and comes from the heart will serve you best.

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See Dangling modifiers, page , and Faulty pronoun reference, page This division should be made apparent within their grades. They are usually at the bottom of the class academicly, studying is the last thing they do. Thomas Edison experienced 10, failures before he succeeded in perfecting the light bulb. I like it and will recommend to anyone who looks for a quality. However, their artistic and athletic classmates should be awarded a grade for ability.

Try, therefore, to devise a main idea that will set you apart from other students. Not that your main idea should be off the wall. Chances are that the SAT will give you a question to which you can respond without too much difficulty. Is it possible to write an engaging essay on a topic that makes you yawn?

The answer is yes, mainly because you have no choice. Instead, accept the challenge, and create the illusion that you care deeply about the issue. Show your resilience—a quality that college admissions officials value and admire. Regardless of the topic, psyche yourself to write the essay of your life. Practice in Choosing a Main Idea Respond to each of the following prompts by writing three or more sentences that could serve as main ideas for an essay.

Which is a more effective means in teaching children to behave in a certain way—to promise rewards or to instill a fear of punishment? Yet, many lottery winners have suffered unexpected negative consequences. Their dreams have often turned into nightmares, and their lives are worse than they were before. Can the realization of a dream be disastrous? Do we need to understand our past in order to understand ourselves? It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.

Do you think that a destiny achieved by the decisions and choices you have made is preferable to a destiny that comes from chance or luck? Suggested answers are on page List your thoughts on paper—just a word or two for each idea. These jottings can be the working outline of your essay. While you plan, one idea may trigger a flood of others. Everyone should have such a problem! Your task then would be to pick out and develop only the best of the best.

With materials assembled, decide what should come first, second, third. The best order is the clearest, the order your reader can follow with the least effort. But, just as a highway map may show several routes from one place to another, there is no single way to get from the beginning to the end of an essay.

The route you plan depends on the purpose of the trip. Each purpose will have its own best order. I like it and will recommend to anyone who looks for a quality. One person found this helpful. Writing" was the book I used for students studying for that test. Writing test is no longer given and most of the grammar and writing points have been rolled into the new, longer SAT. Writing book goes into greater grammatical detail than what the new SAT covers, so it made sense to offer students an up-to-date guide to the Writing section of the new SAT.

Unfortunately, Barron's has dropped the ball in updating a classic text. Compared to the older edition, it is dumbed down, with repetitive drills in easy grammar points, and nothing in the more challenging arena, at all. This is a book, one would think, that should go beyond the grammar chapters in general SAT prep guides by Kaplan and The Princeton Review. My students did not find it added much to their initial studies in those texts, however. As for the essay section, Barron's goes into depth for a long-term project of writing improvement, but offers very little that students studying typically for a couple months in total for this exam can glean and apply themselves.

I would recommend the essay section of this book to students who are working to improve their writing over the course of a semester or longer. But the tips are very basic: Advanced students will find very little that's new and inspiring here. Less accomplished writers might benefit from the tips, but will need a much more comprehensive course in order to actually improve their writing. Note that about half this book is focused on the essay, while the bulk of the actual SAT Writing test consists of grammar and usage multiple choice.

The four practice Writing tests are relatively comparable to the real thing. One very annoying misstep the editors made, however, was to place the entire text of each Improving Paragraphs section in italic. The real test does not, and this confuses students, especially since the CollegeBoard does use italic in some types of questions following the reading passages. The most egregious problem with Barron's choice of typeface is that it is very hard to read and focus on an entire paragraph set in italic!

This book was for my brother who has been scoring in the low s in the SAT writing portion. Although this book does have the different rules that you need to basically memorize, it doesn't do a great of a job as explaining them. Due to this I needed to get him another "rule" book that described the grammar rules in detail and used this book for problem sets. Once the student knows the rules, they need practice doing them in the same format and time limit as the SATs.

This book is good for this reason. I got this book for my homeschooled Sophomore to prepare him for the SAT essay. Writing can be challenging when there are no comparisons and no one to share it with. My son went from a to a on the writing part of his SAT after using this book. What else needs to be said? See all 7 reviews. There's a problem loading this menu right now.

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